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CorntMHT, 1921, 


Bet up and lctrotyped. Published Mar* 1921. 








THE present outlook of human affairs is one that 
admits of broad generalizations and that seems to 
require broad generalizations. We are in one of 
those phases of experience which becom cardinal 
in history. A series of immense and tragic events 
have shattered the self-complacency and chal- 
lenged the will and intelligence of mankind. That 
easy general forward movement of human affairs 
which for several generations had seemed to jus- 
tify the persuasion of a necessary and invincible 
progress, progress towards greater powers, 
greater happiness, and a continual enlargement of 
life, has been checked violently and perhaps ar- 
rested altogether. The spectacular catastrophe of 
the great war has revealed an accumulation of 
destructive forces in our outwardly prosperous 
society, of which few of us had dreamt ; and it has 

* S^rst published in the Review of Reviews. 


also revealed a profound incapacity to deal with 
and restrain these forces. The two years of want, 
confusion, and indecision that have followed the 
great war in Europe and Asia, and the uncertain- 
ties that have disturbed life even in the compara- 
tively untouched American world, seem to many 
watchful minds even more ominous to our social 
order than the war itself. What is happening to 
our race? they ask. Did the prosperities and con- 
fident hopes with which the twentieth century 
opened, mark nothing more than a culmination of 
fortuitous good luck? Plas the cycle of prosperity 
and progress closed ? To what will this staggering 
and blundering, the hatreds and mischievous ad- 
ventures of the present time, bring us? Is the 
world in the opening of long centuries of confusion 
and disaster such as ended the Western Eoman 
Empire in Europe or the Han prosperity in China ? 
And if so, will the debacle extend to America? Or 
is the American (and Pacific?) system still suffi- 
ciently removed and still sufficiently autonomous 
to maintain a progressive movement of its own if 
the Old World collapse? 

Some sort of answer to these questions, vast and 
vague though they are, we must each one of tis 
have before we can take an intelligent interest 
or cast an effective vote in foreign affairs. Even 
though a man formulate no dennite answet, he 
must still have ap, implicit persuasion before he 
can act in these matters. If he have no clear 
conclusions openly arrived at, then he must act 


upon subconscious conclusions instinctively ar- 
rived at Far better is it that lie should bring them 
into the open light of thought. 

The suppression of war is generally regarded as 
central to the complex of contemporary problems. 
But war is not a new thing in human experience, 
and for scores of centuries mankind has managed 
to get along in spite of its frequent recurrence. 
Most states and empires have been intermittently 
at war throughout their periods of stability and 
prosperity. But their warfare was not the warfare 
of the present time. The thing that has brought 
the rush of progressive development of the past 
century and a half to a sudden shock of arrest is 
not the old and familiar warfare, but warfare 
strangely changed and exaggerated by novel con- 
ditions. It is this change in conditions, therefore, 
and not war itself, which is the reality we have to 
analyze in its bearing upon onr social and political 
ideas. In 1914 the European Great Powers re- 
sorted to war, as they had resorted to war on many 
previous occasions, to decide certain open issues. 
This war flamed out with an unexpected rapidity 
until all the world was involved ; and it developed 
a horror, a monstrosity of destructiveness, and, 
above all, an, inconclusiveness quite unlike any 
preceding war. That unlikeness was the essence 
of the matter. Whatever justifications could be 
found for its use in the past, it became^ clear to 
many minds that under the new conditions war 
was no longer a possible method of international 


dealing. The thing lay upon the surface. The 
idea of a League of Nations sustaining a Supreme 
World Court to supersede the arbitrament of war, 
did not so much arise at any particular point as 
break out simultaneously wherever there were 
intelligent men. 

Now what was this change in conditions that 
had confronted mankind with the perplexing 
necessity of abandoning war? For perplexing it 
certainly is. War has been a ruling and con- 
structive idea in all human societies up to the 
present time; few will be found to deny it. 
Political institutions have very largely developed 
in relation to the idea of war; defence and 
aggression have shaped the outer form of every 
state in the world, just as co-operation sustained 
by compulsion has shaped its inner organization. 
And if abruptly man determines to give up the 
waging of war, he may find that this determination, 
involves the most extensive and penetrating modi- 
fications of political and social conceptions that do 
not at the first glance betray any direct connection 
with belligerent activities at all. 

It is to the general problem arising out of this 
consideration, that this and the three following 
essays will be addressed; the question: What else 
has to go if war is to go out of human life? and 
the problem of what has to be done if it is to be 
banished and barred out for ever from the future 
experiences of our race. For let us face the truth 


in this matter; the abolition of war is no casting 
of ancient, barbaric, and now obsolete traditions, 
no easy and natural progressive step ; the abolition 
of war, if it can be brought about, will be a reversal 
not only of the general method of human life 
hitherto but of the general method of nature, the 
method, that is, of conflict and survival. It will 
be a new phase in the history of life, and not 
simply an incident in the history of man. These 
brief essays will attempt to present something 
like the true dimensions of the task before man- 
kind if war is indeed to be superseded, and to show 
that the project of abolishing war by the oc- 
casional meeting of some Council of a League of 
Nations or the like, is, in itself, about as likely to 
succeed as a proposal to abolish thirst, hunger, 
and death by a short legislative act. 

Let us first examine the change in the conditions 
of human life that has altered war from a normal 
aspect of the conflict for existence of human so- 
cieties into a terror and a threat for the entire 
species. The change is essentially a change in the 
amount of power available for human purposes, 
and more particularly in the amount of material 
power that can be controlled by one individual. 
Human society Tip to a couple of centuries ago 
wa& essentially a man-power and horse-power 
system. There was in addition a certain limited 
use of water power and wind power, but that was 
not on a scale to affect the general truth of the 
proposition. The first intimation of the great 


change "began seven centuries ago with the appear- 
ance of explosives. In the thirteenth century the 
Mongols made a very effective military use of the 
Chinese discovery of gunpowder. They conquered 
most of the known world, and their introduction 
of a low-grade explosive in warfare rapidly de- 
stroyed the immunity of castles and walled cities, 
abolished knighthood, and utterly wrecked and 
devastated the irrigation system of Mesopotamia, 
which had been a populous and civilized region 
since before the beginnings of history. But the 
restricted metallurgical knowledge of the time set 
definite limits to the size and range of cannon. It 
was only with the nineteenth century that the large 
scale production of cast steel and the growth of 
chemical knowledge made the military use of a 
variety of explosives practicable. The systematic 
extension of human power began in the eighteenth 
century with the utilization of steam and coal. 
That opened a crescendo of invention and dis- 
covery which thrust rapidly increasing quantities 
of material energy into men's hands. ^ Even now 
that crescendo may not have reached its climax. 

We need not rehearse here the familiar story 
of the abolition of distance that ensued; how the 
radiogram and the telegram have made every 
event of importance a simultaneous event for the 
minids of everyone in the world, how journeys 
which formerly took months or weeks now take 
days or hours, nor how printing and paper have 
made possible a universally informed community, 


and so forth. Nor will we describe the effect of 
these things upon warfare. The point that con- 
cerns us here is this, that before this age of dis- 
covery, communities had fought and struggled 
with each other much as naughty children might 
do in a crowded nursery, within the measure of 
their strength. They had hurt and impoverished 
each other, but they had rarely destroyed each 
other completely. Their squabbles may have been 
distressing, but they were tolerable. It is even 
possible to regard these former wars as healthy, 
hardening and invigorating conflicts. But into 
this nursery has come Science, and has put into 
the fists of these children razor blades with poison 
on them, bombs of frightful explosive, corrosive 
fluids and the like. The comparatively harmless 
conflicts of these infants are suddenly fraught with 
quite terrific possibilities, and it is only a question 
of sooner or later before the nursery becomes a 
heap of corpses or is blown to smithereens. A 
real nursery invaded by a reckless person dis- 
tributing such gifts, would be promptly saved by 
the intervention of the nurse; but humanity has 
no nurse but its own poor wisdom. And whether 
that poor wisdom can rise to the pitch of effectual 
intervention is the most fundamental problem in 
mundane affairs at the present time. 

The deadly gifts continue. There was a steady 
Increase in the frightfulness and destructiveness 
of belligerence from 1914 up to the beginning of 
1918, when shortage of material and energy 


checked the process ; and since the armistice there 
has been an industrious development of military 
science. The next well-organized war, we are as- 
sured, will be far more swift and extensive in its 
destruction more particularly of the civilian 
population. Armies will advance no longer along 
roads but extended in line, with heavy tank 
transport which will plough up the entire surface 
of the land they traverse; aerial bombing, with 
bombs, each capable of destroying a small town, 
will be practicable a thousand miles beyond the 
military front, and the seas will be swept clear of 
shipping by mines and submarine activities. 
There will be no distinction between combatants 
and non-combatants, because every able-bodied 
citizen, male or female, is a potential producer of 
food and munitions ;, % and probably the safest, and 
certainly the best sup*plied shelters in the universal 
cataclysm, will be the carefully buried, sand- 
bagged, and camouflaged general-headquarters of 
the contending armies. There military gentlemen 
of limited outlook and high professional training 
will, in comparative security, achieve destruction 
beyond their understanding. The hard logic of 
war which gives victory always to the most 
energetic and destructive combatant, will turn 
warfare more and more from mere operations for 
loot or conquest or predominance into operations 
for the conclusive destruction of the antagonists. 
A relentless thrust towards strenuousness is a 
characteristic of belligerent conditions. War is 
war, and vehemence is in its nature. You must 


hit always as hard as you can. Offensive and 
counter-offensive methods continue to prevail over 
merely defensive ones. The victor in the next 
great war will be bombed from the air, starved, 
and depleted almost as much as the loser. His 
victory will be no easy one ; it will be a triumph 
of the exhausted and dying over the dead. 

It has been argued that such highly organized 
and long prepared warfare as the world saw in 
1914-18 is not likely to recur again for a consider- 
able time because of the shock inflicted by it upon 
social stability. There may be spasmodic wars 
with improvised and scanty supplies, these super- 
ficially more hopeful critics admit, but there re- 
main no communities now so .stable and so sure of 
their people as to- prepare and wage again a fully 
elaborated scientific war. But this view implies 
no happier outlook for mankind. It amounts to 
this, that so long as men remain disordered and 
impoverished they will not rise again to the full 
height of scientific war. But manifestly this will 
only be for as long as they remain disordered and 
impoverished. "When they recover they will re- 
cover to repeat again their former disaster with 
whatever modern improvements and intensifies 
tions the ingenuity of the intervening time may 
have devised. This new phase of disorder, conflict, 
and social unravelling upon which we have en- 
tered, this phase of decline due to the enhanced 
and increasing powers for waste and destruction 
in mankind, is bound, therefore, to continue so 
long as the divisions based upon ancient ideas of 


conflict remain; and if for a time the decadence 
seems to be arrested, it will only be to accumu- 
late under the influence of those ideas a fresh war 
storm sufficiently destructive and disorganizing to 
restore the decadent process. 

TJnless mankind can readjust its political and 
social ideas to this essential new fact of its enor- 
mously enlarged powers, unless it can eliminate 
or control its pugnacity, no other prospect seems 
open to us but decadence, at least to such a level 
of barbarism as to lose and forget again all the 
scientific and industrial achievements of our pres- 
ent age. Then, with its powers shrunken to their 
former puny scale, our race may recover some sort 
of balance between the injuries and advantages of 
conflict. Or, since our decadent species may have 
less vitality and vigour than it had in its primitive 
phases, it may dwindle and fade out altogether 
before some emboldened animal antagonist, or 
through some world-wide disease brought to it 
perhaps by rats and dogs and insects and what 
not, who may be destined to be heirs to the rust- 
ing and mouldering ruins of the cities and ports 
and ways and bridges of to-day. 

Only one alternative to some such retrogression 
seems possible, and that is the conscious, system- 
atic reconstruction of human society to avert it. 
The world has been brought into one community, 
and the human mind and will may be able to recog- 


nize and adapt itself to this fact in time. Men, 
as a race, may succeed in turning their backs upon 
the method of warfare and the methods of conflict 
and in embarking upon an immense world-wide 
effort of co-operation and mutual toleration and 
salvage. They may have the vigour to abandon 
their age-long attempt to live in separate sover- 
eign states, and to grapple with and master the 
now quite destructive force that traditional hostil- 
ity has become, and bring their affairs together 
under one l&w and one peace. These new vast 
powers over nature which have been given to 
them, and which will certainly be their destruction 
if their purposes remain divergent and conflicting, 
will then be the means by which they may set up 
a new order of as yet scarcely imaginable interest 
and happiness and achievement. But is our race 
capable of such an effort, such a complete reversal 
of its instinctive and traditional impulses? Can 
we find premonitions of any such bold and revo- 
lutionary adaptations as these, in the mental and 
political life of to-day? How far are we, reader 
and writer, for example, working for these large 
new securities? Do we even keep them stesui- 
fastly in our minds? How is it with the people 
around us? Are not we and they and all the race 
still just as much adrift in the current of cir- 
cumstances as we were before 1914? Without a 
great effort on our part (or on someone's part) 
that current which swirled our kind into a sun- 
shine of hope and opportunity for a while will 


carry our race on surely and inexorably to fresh 
wars, to shortages, hunger, miseries, and social 
debacles, at last either to complete extinction or to 
a degradation beyond our present understand- 

The urgent need for a, great creative effort has 
become apparent in the affairs of mankind. It is 
manifest that unless some unity of purpose can be 
achieved in the world, unless the ever more violent 
and disastrous incidence of war can be averted, 
unless some common control can be imposed on 
the headlong waste of man's limited inheritance 
of coal, oil, and moral energy that is now going 
on, the history of humanity must presently cul- 
minate in some sort of disaster, repeating and 
exaggerating the disaster of the great war, pro- 
ducing chaotic social conditions, and going on 
thereafter in a degenerative process towards ex- 
tinction. So much all reasonable men seem now 
prepared to admit. But upon the question of how 
and in what form a unity of purpose and a com- 
mon control of human affairs is to be established, 
there is still a great and lamentable diversity of 
opinion and, as a consequence, an enfeeblement 
and wasteful dispersal of will. At present nothing 
has been produced but the manifestly quite inade- 
quate League of Nations at Geneva, and a num- 
ber of generally very vague movements for a 
world law, "world disarmament, and the like, 
among the intellectuals of the various civilized 
countries of the world. 



The common failings of all these initiatives are 
a sort of genteel timidity and a defective sense of 
the scale of the enterprise before us. A neglect of 
the importance of scale is one of the gravest 
faults of contemporary 'education. Because a 
world-wide political organ is needed, it does not 
follow that a so-called League of Nations with- 
out representative sanctions, military forces, or 
authority of any kind, a League from which large 
sections of the world are excluded altogether, is 
any contribution to that need. People have a way 
of saying it is better than nothing. But it may 
be worse than nothing. It may create a feeling of 
disillusionment about world-unifying efforts. If a 
mad elephant were loose in one's garden, it would 
be an excellent thing to give one's gardener a gun. 
But it would have to be an adequate gun, an 
elephant gun. To give him a small rook-rifle and 
tell him it was better than nothing, and encourage 
him to face the elephant with that in his hand, 
would be the directest way of getting rid not of 
the elephant but of the gardener, 

It is, if people will but think steadfastly, incon- 
ceivable that there should be any world control 
without a merger of sovereignty, but the framers 
of these early tentatives towards world unity have 
lacked the courage of frankness in this respect. 
They have been afraid of outbreaks of bawling 
patriotism, and they have tried to believe, and to 
make others believe, that they contemplate nothing 
more than a league of nations, when in reality they 
contemplate a subordination of nations and admin- 


istrations to one common law and rule. The 
elementary necessity of giving the council of any 
world-peace organization, which, is to be more than 
a sentimental international gesture, not only a 
complete knowledge but an effective control of all 
the military resources and organizations in the 
world, appalled them. They did not even ask for 
such a control. The frowning solidity of existing 
things was too much for them. They wanted to 
change them, but when it came to laying hands on 
them No! They decided to leave them alone. 
They wanted a new world and it is to contain just 
the same things as the old. 

But are these intellectuals right in their estimate 
of the common man? Is he such a shallow and 
vehement fool as they seem to believe? Is he so 
patriotic as they make out? If mankind is to be 
saved from destruction there must be a world con- 
trol; a world control means a world government, 
it is only another name for it, and manifestly that 
government must have a navy that will supersede 
the British navy, artillery that will supersede the 
French artillery, air forces superseding all exist- 
ing air forces, and so forth. For many flags there 
must be one sovereign flag; orlis terrarum. Un- 
less a world control amounts to that it will be 
ridiculous, just as a judge supported by two or 
three unarmed policemen, a newspaper reporter 
and the court chaplain, proposing to enforce his 
decisions in a court packed with the heavily armed 
friends of the plaintiff and defendant would be 
ridiculous. But the common man is supposed to 


be so blindly and incurably set upon his British 
navy or his French army, or whatever his pet 
national instrument of violence may be, that it is 
held to be impossible to supersede these beloved 
and adored forces. If that is so, then a world law 
is impossible, and the wisest course before us is 
to snatch such small happiness as we may hope to 
do and leave the mad elephant to work its will in 
the garden. 

But is it so? If the mass of common men are 
incurably patriotic and belligerent why is there a 
note of querulous exhortation in nearly all 
patriotic literature? "Why, for instance, is Mr. 
Budyard Kipling's "History of England " so full 
of goading and scolding? And very significant in- 
deed to any student of the human outlook was the 
world response to President "Wilson's advocacy of 
the League of Nations idea, in its first phase in 
1918, before the weakening off. and disillusionment 
of the Versailles conference. Just for a little while 
it seemed that President Wilson stood for a new 
order of things in the world, that he had the 
wisdom and will and power to break the net of 
hatreds and nationalisms and diplomacies in which 
the Old World was entangled. And while he 
seemed to bo capable of that, while he promised 
most in the way of change and national control, 
then it was that he found his utmost support in 
every country in the world. In the latter half of 
1918 there was scarcely a country anywhere in 
which one could not have found men ready to die 
for President Wilson. A great hopefulness was 


manifest in the world. It faded, it faded very 
rapidly again. But that brief wave of enthusiasm, 
which set minds astir with the same great idea of 
one peace of justice throughout the earth in China 
and Bokhara and the Indian bazaars, in Iceland 
and Basutoland and Ireland and Morocco, was in- 
deed a fact perhaps more memorable in history 
even than the great war itself. It displayed a pos- 
sibility of the simultaneous operation of the same 
general ideas throughout the world quite beyond 
any previous experience. It demonstrated that 
the generality of men are as capable of being cos- 
mopolitan and pacifist as they are of being 
patriotic and belligerent. Both moods are exten- 
sions and exaltations beyond the everyday life, 
which itself is neither one thing nor the other. 
And both are transitory moods, responses to ex- 
ternal suggestion. 

It is to that first wave of popular feeling for a 
world law transcending and moving counter to all 
contemporary diplomacies, and not to the timid 
legalism of the framers of the first schemes for a 
League of Nations that we must look, if we are to 
hope at all for the establishment &f a new order in 
human affairs- It is upon the spirit of that tran- 
sitory response to the transitory greatness of 
President Wilson, that we have to seize ; we have 
to lay hold of that, to recall it and confirm it and 
enlarge and" strengthen it, to make it a flux of 
patriotisms and a creator of new loyalties and 
devotions, and out of the dead dust of our pres- 


ent institutions to build up for it and animate 
with it the body of a true world state. 

We have already stated the clear necessity, if 
mankind is not to perish by the hypertrophy of 
warfare, for the establishment of an armed and 
strong world law. Here in this spirit that has 
already gleamed upon the world is the possible 
force to create and sustain such a world law 
"What is it that intervenes between the ^universal 
human need and its satisfaction? "Why, since there 
are overwhelming reasons for it and a widespread 
disposition for it, is there no world-wide creative 
effort afoot now in which men and women by the 
million are participating and participating with 
all their hearts ? Why is it that, except f or^ the 
weak gestures of the Q-eneva League of Nations 
and a little writing of books and articles, a little 
pamphleteering, some scattered committee activi- 
ties on the part of people chiefly of the busybody 
class, an occasional speech and a diminishing 
volume of talk and allusion, no attempts are 
apparent to stay the plain, drift of human society 
towards new conflicts and the sluices of final dis- 

The answer to that Why, probes deep into the 
question of human motives. 

It must be because we are all creatures of our 
immediate surroundings, because our minds and 
energies are chiefly occupied by the affairs of 
every day, because we are all chiefly living our 
own lives, and very f ew^ of us, except by a kind 
of unconscious contribution, the life of mankind. 


In moments of mental activity, in the study or 
in contemplation, we may rise to a sense of the 
dangers and needs of human destiny, but it is only 
a few minds and characters of prophetic quality 
that, without elaborate artificial assistance, seem 
able to keep hold upon and guide their lives by 
such relatively gigantic considerations. The gen- 
erality of men and women, so far as their natural 
disposition goes, are scarcely more capable of 
apprehending and consciously serving the human 
future than a van full of well-fed rabbits would 
be of grasping the fact that their van was running 
smoothly and steadily down an inclined plane into 
the sea. It is only as the result of considerable 
educational effort and against considerable resist- 
ance that our minds are brought to a broader view. 
In every age for many thousands of years men of 
exception! vision have spent their lives in pas- 
sionate efforts to bring us ordinary men into some 
relation of response and service to the greater 
issues of life. It is these pioneers of vision who 
have given the world its religions and its philo- 
sophical cults, its loyalties and observances ; and 
who have imposed ideas of greatness and duty on 
their fellows. In every age the ordinary man has 
submitted reluctantly to such teachings, has made 
his peculiar compromises with them, has reduced 
them as far as possible to formula and formality, 
and got back as rapidly as possible to the eating 
and drinking and desire, the personal spites and 
rivalries and glories which constitute his reality. 
The mass of men to-day do not seem to care, nor 


want to care, whither the political and social insti- 
tutions to which they are accustomed are taking 
them. Such considerations overstrain us. And it 
is only by the extremest effort of those who are 
capable of a sense of racial danger and duty that 
the collective energies of men can ever be gathered 
together and organized and orientated towards 
the common good. To nearly all men and women, 
unless they are in the vein for it, such discussion 
as this in these essays does not appeal as being 
right or wrong; it does not really interest them, 
rather it worries them ; and for the most part they 
would be glad to disregard it as completely as a 
lecture on wheels and gravitation and the physio- 
logical consequences of prolonged submergence 
would be disregarded by those rabbits in the van. 
But man is a creature very different in his 
nature from a rabbit, and if he is less instinctively 
social, he is much more consciously social. Chief 
among his differences must be the presence of 
those tendencies which we call conscience, that 
haunting craving to be really right and to do the 
really right thing which is the basis of the moral 
and perhaps also of most of the religious life. In 
this lies our hope for mankind, Man hates to be 
put right, and yet also he wants to be right. He 
is a creature divided against himself, seeking both 
to preserve and to overcome his egotism. It is 
upon the presence of the latter strand in man's 
complex make-up that we must rest our hopes of 
a developing will for the world state which will 


gradually gather together and direct into a 
massive constructive effort the now quite dis- 
persed chaotic and traditional activities of 

As we have examined this problem it has be- 
come clear that the task of bringing about that 
consolidated world state which is necessary to pre- 
vent the de'cline and decay of mankind is not 
primarily one for the diplomatists and lawyers 
and politicians at all It is an educational one. 
It is a moral based on an intellectual reconstruc- 
tion. The task immediately before mankind is to 
find release from the contentious loyalties and 
hostilities of the past which make collective world- 
wide action impossible at the present time, in a 
world-wide common vision of the history and des- 
tinies of the race. On that as a basis, and on that 
alone, can a world control be organized and main- 
tained. The effort 'demanded from mankind, 
therefore, is primarily and essentially a bold re- 
construction of the outlook upon life of hundreds 
of millions of minds. The idea of a world com- 
monweal has to be established as the criterion of 
political institutions, and also as the 'criterion of 
general conduct in hundreds of millions of brains. 
It has to dominate education everywhere in the 
world. When that enxi is achieved, then the world 
state will be achieved, and it can be achieved in 
no other way. And unless that world state can 
be achieved, it would seem that the outlook before 
mankind is a continuance of disorder and of more 


and more destructive and wasteful conflicts, a 
steady process of violence, decadence, and misery 
towards extinction, or towards modifications of 
our type altogether beyond our present under- 
standing and sympathy. 


In framing an. estimate of the human future 
two leading facts are dominant. The first is the 
plain necessity for a political reorganization, of the 
world as a unity, to save our race from th social 
disintegration and complete physical destruction 
which war, under modern conditions, must ulti- 
mately entail, and the second is the manifest 
absence of any sufficient will in the general mass 
of mankind at the present time to make such a 
reorganization possible. There appear to be the 
factors of such a will in men, but they are for the 
most part unawakened, or they are unorganized 
and ineffective. And there is a very curious, in- 
capacity to grasp the reality of the human situa- 
tion, a real resistance to seeing things as they are 
for man is an effort-shirking animal which 
greatly impedes the development of such a "will, 
Failing the operation of such a sufficient will, 
human affairs are being directed by use and wont, 
by tradition and accidental deflections. Mankind, 
after the tragic concussion of the great war, seems 
now to be drifting again towards- new and proba- 
bly more disastrous concussions. 

The catastrophe of the great war did more or 
less completely awaken a certain limited number 
of intelligent people to the need of some general 



control replacing this ancient traditional driftage 
of events. But they shrank from the great impli- 
cations of snch a world control. The only prac- 
ticable -way to achieve a general control in the face 
of existing governments, institutions and preju- 
dices, interested obstruction and the common dis- 
regard, is by extending this awakening to great 
masses of people. This means an unprecedented 
educational effort, an appeal to men's intelligence 
and men's imagination such as the world has never 
seen before. Is it possible to rationalize the at 
present chaotic will of mankind ? That possibility, 
if it is a possibility, is the most important thing in 
contemporary human affairs, 

We are asking here for an immense thing, for 
a change of ideas, a vast enlargement of ideas, and 
for something very like a change of heart in 
hundreds of millions of human beings. But then 
we are dealing with the fate of the entire species. 
We a#e discussing the prevention of wars, dis- 
orders, shortages, famines and miseries for cen- 
turies ahead. The initial capital we have to go 
upon is as yet no more than the aroused under- 
standing and conscience of a few thousands, at 
most of a few score thousands of people. Can so 
little a leaven leaven so great a lump? Is a re- 
sponse to this appeal latent in the masses of maii- 
Mnd? Is there anything in history to justify hope 
for so gigantic a mental turnover in our race? 

A consideration of the spread of Christianity 
in the first four centuries A.D. or of the spread 
of Islam in the seventh century will, we believe, 


support a reasonable hope that such a change in 
the minds of men, whatever else it may be, is a 
practicable change, that it can be done and that 
it may even probably be done. Consider our two 
instances. The propagandas of those two great 
religions changed and changed for ever the politi- 
cal and social outlook over vast areas of the 
world's surface. Yet while the stir for world 
unity begins now simultaneously in many coun- 
tries and many groups of people, those two propa- 
gandas each radiated from one single centre and 
were in the first instance the teachings of single 
individuals; and while to-day we can deal with 
great reading populations and can reach them by 
press and printed matter, by a universal distribu- 
tion of books, by great lecturing organizations 
and the like, those earlier great changes in human 
thought were achieved mainly by word of mouth 
and by crabbed manuscripts, painfully copied and 
passed slowly from hand to hand. So far it is 
only the trader who has made any effectual use 
of the vast facilities the modern world has pro- 
duced for conveying a statement simultaneously 
to great numbers of people at a distance. The 
world of thought still hesitates to use the means 
of power that now exist for it. History and politi- 
cal philosophy in the modern world are like bash- 
ful dons at a dinner party; they crumble their 
bread and talk in undertones and clever allusions 
to their nearest neighbour, abashed at the thought 
of addressing the whole table. But in a world 
where Mars can reach out in a single night and 


smite a city a thousand miles away, we cannot suf- 
fer wisdom to hesitate in an inaudible gentility. 
The knowledge and vision that is good enough for 
the "best of us is good enough for all. This gospel 
of human brotherhood and a common law and rule 
for all mankind, the attempt to meet this urgent 
necessity of a common control of human affairs, 
which indeed is no new religion but only an at- 
tempt to realize practically the common teaching 
of all the established religions of the world, has 
to speak with dominating voice everywhere Be- 
tween the poles and round about the world. 

And it must become part of the universal edu- 
cation. It must speak through the school and 
university. It is too often forgotten, in America, 
perhaps, even more than in Europe, that education 
exists for the community, and for the individual 
only so far as it makes him a sufficient member of 
the community. The chief end of education is to 
subjugate and sublimate for the collective pur- 
poses of our kind the savage egotism we inherit. 
Every school, every college, teaches directly and 
still more by implication, relationship to a com- 
munity and devotion to a community. In too 
many cases that community we let our schools and 
colleges teach to our children is an extremely nar- 
row one ; it is the community of a sect, of a class, 
or of an intolerant, greedy and unrighteous na- 
tionalism. Schools have increased greatly in num- 
bers throughout the world during the last century, 
but there has been little or no growth in the con- 
ception of education in schools. Education has 


been extended, but it lias not been developed. If 
man is to be saved from self-destruction by the 
organization of a world community, there must be 
a broadening of the reference of the teaching in 
the schools of all the world to that community of 
the world. "World-wide educational development 
and reform are the necessary preparations for 
and the necessary accompaniments of a political 
reconstruction of the world. The two are the 
right and left hands of the same thing. Neither 
can effect much without the other. 

Now it is manifest that this reorganization of 
the world's affairs and of the world's education 
which we hold to be imperatively dictated by the 
change in warfare, communications and other 
conditions of human life brought about by scien- 
tific discovery during ''he last hundred years, car- 
ries with it a practical repudiation of the claims 
of every existing sovereign government in the 
world to be final and sovereign, to be anything 
more than provisional and replaceable. There is 
the difficulty that has checked hundreds of men 
after their first step' towards this work for a uni- 
versal peace. It involves, it eannt but involve, a 
revision of their habitual allegiances. At "best 
existing governments are to be regarded as local 
trustees and caretakers for the coming human 
commonweal. If they are not that, then they are 
necessarily obstructive and antagonistic. But few 
rulers, few governments, few officials, will have 
the greatness of mind to recognize and admit 
this plain reality. By a kind of necessity they 


force upon tlieir subjects and publics a conflict of 
loyalties. Tlie feeble driftage of human affairs 
from one "base or greedy arrangement or cowardly 
evasion to another, since the Armistice of 1918, 
is very largely due to the obstinate determination 
of those who are in positions of authority and 
responsibility to ignore the plain teachings of the 
great war and its sequelae. They are resisting 
adjustments ; their minds are fighting against the 
sacrifices of pride and authority that a full recog- 
nition of their subordination to the world com- 
monweal will involve. They are prepared, it 
would seem, to fight against the work of human 
.salvation basely and persistently, whenever their 
accustomed importance is threatened. 

Even in the schools and in the 'world of thought 
the established thing will make its unrighteous 
fight for life. The dull and the dishonest in high 
places will suppress these greater ideas when they 
can, and ignore when they dare not suppress. It 
seems too much to hope for that there should be 
any willingness on the part of any established au- 
thority to admit its obsolescence and prepare the 
way for its merger in a world authority. It is not 
creative minds that produce revolutions, but the 
obstinate conservatism of established authority. 
It is the blank refusal to accept the idea of an 
orderly evolution towards new things that gives a 
revolutionary quality to -every constructive pro- 
posal The huge task of political and educational 
reconstruction which is needed to arrest the pres- 
ent drift of human affairs towards catastrophe, 


must be achieved, if it is to be achieved at all, 
mainly by voluntary and unofficial effort ; and for 
the most part in the teeth of official opposition. 

There are one or two existing states to which 
men have looked for some open recognition of 
their dnty to mankind as a whole, and of the 
necessarily provisional nature of their contempo- 
rary constitutions. The United States of America 
constitute a political system, profoundly different 
in its origin and in its spirit, from any old-world 
state;, it T^as felt that here at least might be an 
evolutionary state; and in the palmy days of 
President Wilson it did seem for a brief interval 
as if the New "World was indeed coming to the 
rescue of the old, as if America was to play the 
role of a propagandist continent, bringing its 
ideas of equality and freedom, and extending the 
spirit of its union to all the nations of the earth. 
From that expectation, the world opinion is now 
in a state of excessive and unreasonable recoil. 
President Wilson fell away from his first intima- 
tions of that world-wide federal embrace, his mind 
and will were submerged by the clamour of con- 
tending patriotisms and the subtle expedients of 
old-world diplomacy in Paris ; but American acces- 
sibility to the idea of a f ederalized world neither 
began with him nor will it end with his failure. 
America is still a hopeful laboratory of world- 
unifying thought. A long string of arbitration 
treaties stands to the credit of America, and a 
series of developing Pan- American projects, point- 
ing clearly to at least a continental synthesis 


-"within a measurable time. There has been, and 
there still is, a better understanding of, and a 
greater receptivity to, ideas of international syn- 
thesis in America than in any European state. 

And the British Empire, which, according to 
many of its liberal apologists is already a league 
of nations, linked together in a mutually advan- 
tageous peace, to that too men have looked for 
some movement of adaptation to this greater syn- 
thesis which is the world's pre-eminent need. But 
so far the British Empire has failed to respond to 
such expectations. The war has left it strained 
and bruised and with its affairs very much in the 
grip of the military class, the most illiterate and 
dangerous class in the community. They have 
done, perhaps, irreparable mischief to the peace 
of the empire in Ireland, India and Egypt, and 
they have made the claim of the British system 
to be an exemplary unification of dissimilar peo- 
ples seem now to many people incurably absurd. 
It is a great misfortune for mankind that the Brit- 
ish Empire, which played so sturdy and central a 
part in the great war, could at its close achieve no 
splendid and helpful gesture towards a generous 

Since the armistice there has been an extraor- 
dinary opportunity for the British monarchy to 
have displayed a sense of the new occasions before 
the world, and to have led the way towards the 
efforts and renunciations of an international 
renascence. It could have taken up a lead that 
the President of the United States had initiated 


and relinquished ; it could have used its peculiar 
position to make an unexampled appeal to the 
whole world. It could have created a new epoch in 
history. The Prince of Wales has been touring 
the world-wide dominions of which, some day, he 
is to be the crowned head. He has received ad- 
dresses, visited sights, been entertained, shaken 
hands with scores of thousands of people and sub- 
mitted himself to the eager, yet unpenetrating 
gaze of vast multitudes. His smallest acts have 
been observed with premeditated admiration, his 
lightest words recorded. He is not now a boy ; he 
saw something of the great war, even if his exalted 
position denied him any large share of its severer 
hardships and dangers ; he cannot be blind to the 
general posture of the world's affairs. Here, 
surely, was a chance of saying something that 
would be heard from end to end of the earth, 
something kingly and great-minded. Here was 
the occasion for a fine restatement of the obliga- 
tions and duties of empire. But from first to last 
the prince has said nothing to quicken the imagi- 
nations of the multitude of his future subjects to 
the gigantic possibilities of these times, nothing 
to reassure the foreign observer that the British 
Empire embodies anything more than the colossal 
national egotism and impenetrable self-satisfac- 
tion of the British peoples. "Here we are," said 
the old order in those demonstrations, "and here 
we mean to stick. Just as we have been, so we 
remain. British! we are Bourbons." These 
smiling tours of the Prince of Wales in these 


years of shortage, stress, and insecurity, consti- 
tute a propaganda of inanity unparalleled in the 
world's history. 

Nor do we find in the nominal rulers and official 
representatives of other countries any clear ad- 
mission of the necessity for a great and funda- 
mental change in the scope and spirit of govern- 
ment. These official and ruling people, more than 
any other people, are under the sway of that life 
of use and wont which dominates us all. They are 
often trained to their positions, or they have won 
their way to their positions of authority through 
a career of political activities which amounts to a 
training. And that training is not a training in 
enterprise and change ; it is a training in sticking 
tight and getting back to precedent. "We can ex- 
pect nothing from them. We shall be lucky if 
the resistance of the administrative side of exist- 
ing states to the conception of a world common- 
weal is merely passive. There is little or no pros- 
pect of any existing governing system, unless it 
be such a federal system as Switzerland or the 
United States, passing directly and without exten- 
sive internal changes into combination with other 
sovereign powers as part of a sovereign world 
system. At some point the independent states 
will as systems resist, and unless an overwhelming 
world conscience for the world state has been 
brought into being and surrounds them with an 
understanding watchfulness, and invades the con- 
sciences of their supporters a&d so weakens their 


resisting power, they will resist violently and dis- 
astrously. But it will be an incoherent resistance 
because the very nature of the sovereign states of 
to-day is incoherence. There can be no world- 
wide combination of sovereign states to resist the 
world state, because that would be to create the 
world state in the attempt to defeat it. 

In the three preceding 1 essays an attempt has 
been made to state the pass at which mankind has 
arrived, the dangers and mischiefs that threaten 
our race, and the need there is and the oppor- 
tunities there are for a strenuous attempt to end 
the age-long bickerings of nations and 'empires 
and establish one community of law and effort 
throughout the whole world. Stress has been laid 
chiefly upon the monstrous evils and disasters a 
continuation of our present divisions, our nation- 
alisms and imperialisms and the like, will certainly 
entail. These considerations of evil, however, are 
only the negative argument for this creative ef- 
fort ; they have been thrust forward because war, 
disorder, insufficiency, and the ill health, the part- 
ings, deprivations, boredom and unhappiness that 
arise out of theso things are well within our expe- 
rience and entirely credible ; the positive argument 
for a world order demands at once more faith and 

Given a world law and world security, a release 
from the net of bickering frontiers, world-wide 
freedom, of movement, and world-wide fellowship, 
a thousand good things that are now beyond hope 
or dreaming would come into the ordinary life. 
The whole world would be our habitation, and the 



energies of men, released from their preoccupa- 
tion with, contention, would go more and more 
abundantly into the accumulation and application 
of scientific knowledge, that is to say into the in- 
crease of mental and bodily health, of human 
power, of interest and happiness. Even to-day 
the most delightful possibilities stand waiting, 
inaccessible to nearly all of us because of the 
general insecurity, distrust and anger. Flying, in 
a world safely united in peace, could take us now 
to the ends of the earth smoothly, securely through 
the sweet upper air, in five or sis days. In two 
or three years there could again Tbe abundance of 
food and pleasant clothing for everyone through- 
out the whole world. Men could be destroying 
their slums and pestilential habitations and re- 
building spacious and beautiful cities. Given only 
peace and confidence and union we could double 
our yearly production of all that makes life de- 
sirable and still double our leisure for thought 
and growth. We could live in a universal palace 
and make the whole globe our garden and play- 

But these are not considerations that sway peo- 
ple to effort. Fear and hate, not hope and desire, 
have been, hitherto the effective spurs for men. 
The most popular religions are those which hold 
out the widest hopes of damnation. Our lives 
are lives of use and wont, we distrust the promise 
of delightful experience and achievements beyond 
our accustomed ways ; it offends our self-satisfac- 
tion even to regard them as possibilities; we do 


not like the implied cheapening of familiar things. 
We are all ready to sneer at "Utopias," as elderly 
invalids sneer at the buoyant hopes of youth and 
do their best to think them sure of frustration. 
The aged and disillusioned profess a keen appreci- 
ation of the bath chair and the homely spoonful of 
medicine, and pity a crudity that misses the fine 
quality of those ripe established things. Most 
people are quite ready to dismiss the promise of 
a full free life for all mankind with a sneer. That 
would rob the world of romance, they say, the 
romance of passport offices, custom houses, short- 
ages of food, endless petty deprivations, slums, 
pestilence, under-educated stunted children, 
youths* dying in heaps in muddy trenches, an 
almost universal lack of vitality, and all the pic- 
turesque eventfulness of contemporary conditions. 
So that we have not dwelt here upon the life- 
giving aspect of a possible world-state, but only on 
its life-saving aspects. We have not argued that 
our present life of use and wont could be replaced 
by an infinitely better way of living. We have 
rather pointed out that if things continue to drift 
as they are doing, the present life of use and wont 
will become intolerably insecure. It is the thought 
of the large bombing aeroplane and not the hope 
of swift travelling across the sky that will move 
the generality of men, if they are to be moved at 
all, towards a world peace. 

But whether the lever that moves them is desire 
or fear the majority of men, unless the species is 
to perish, must be brought within a measurable 


time to an understanding of, and a will for, a 
single world government. And since at first exist- 
ing institutions, established traditions, educa- 
tional organizations and the like, will all Tbe pas- 
sively if not actively resistant to the spread of this 
saving idea, and much more so to any attempts to 
realize this saving idea, there remains nothing 
for us to look to, at the present time, for the first 
organization of this immense effort of mental re- 
versal, but the zeal and devotion and self-sacrifice 
of convinced individuals. The world state must 
begin; it can only begin, as a propagandist cult, or 
as a group of propagandist cults, to which men 
and women must give themselves and their ener- 
gies, regardless of the consequences to themselves. 
Laying the foundations of a world state upon a 
site already occupied by a muddle of buildings is 
an undertaking which will almost necessarily 
bring its votaries into conflict with established 
authority and current sentiment ; they, will have 
to face the possibility of lives of conflict, misun- 
derstanding, much thankless exertion,- they must 
count on little honour and considerable active dis- 
like; and they will have to find what consolation 
they can in the interest of the conflict itself and 
in the thought of a world, made at last by such 
efforts as theirs, peaceful and secure and vigor- 
ous, a world they can never hope to see. So stated 
it seems a bad bargain that the worker for the 
world-state is invited to make, yet the world has 
never lacked people prepared to make such a bar- 
gain and they will not fail it now. There are 


worse things than conflict without manifest vic- 
tory and effort without apparent reward. To the 
finer kind of mind it Is infinitely more tragic and 
distressing to find that existence bears a foolish 
aimless face. Many people, tormented by the dis- 
content of conscience, and wanting, more than they 
can ever want any satisfaction, some satisfying 
rule of life, some criterion of conduct, will find in 
this cult of the world-state just that sustaining 
reality they need. And their number will grow. 
Because it is a practical and reasonable shape for 
a life, arising naturally out of a proper under- 
standing of history and physical science, and em- 
bodying in a unifying plan the teaching of all the 
great religions of the world. It comes to us not 
to destroy but to fulfil. 

The activities of a cult which set itself to bring 
about the world-state would at first be propa- 
gandist, they would be intellectual and educa- 
tional, and only as a sufficient mass of opinion and 
will had accumulated would they become to a pre- 
dominant extent politically constructive. Such a 
cult must direct itself particularly to the teaching 
of the young. So far the propaganda for a world 
law, the League of Nations propaganda, since it 
has sought immediate political results, has been 
addressed almost entirely to adults ; and as a con- 
sequence it has had to adapt itself as far as pos- 
sible to their preconceptions about the history and 
outlook of their own nationality, and to the gen- 
eral absence as yet in the world of any vision of 
the welfare of mankind as one whole. It is be- 


cause of this acceptance of current adult ideas 
about patriotism and nationality that the move- 
ment has adopted the unsatisfactory phrase, a 
League of Nations, when what is contemplated is 
much more than a league and a very considerable 
subordination of national sovereignty. And a 
large share in the current ineffectiveness of the 
League of Nations is evidently due to the fact that 
men interpret the phrase and the proposition of 
the League of Nations differently in accordance 
with the different fundamental historical ideas 
they possess, ideas that propaganda has hitherto 
left unassailed. The worker for the world-state 
will look further and plough deeper. It is these 
fundamental ideas which are the vitally important 
objective of a world-unifying movement, and they 
can only be brought into that world-wide uni- 
formity which is essential to the enduring peace 
of mankind, by teaching children throughout all 
the earth the common history of their kind, and 
so directing their attention to the common future 
of their descendants. The driving force that 
makes either war or peace is engendered where 
the young are taught. The teacher, whether 
mother, priest, or schoolmaster, is the real maker 
of history; rulers, statesmen and soldiers do but 
work out the possibilities of co-operation or con- 
flict the teacher creates. This is no rhetorical 
flourish; it is a sober fact. The politicians and 
masses of our time dance on the wires of their 
early education. 
Teaching then is the initial and decisive factor 


in the future of mankind, and the first duty of 
everyone who has the ability and opportunity, is 
to teach, or to subserve the teaching- of, the true 
history of mankind and of the possibilities of this 
vision of a single world-state that history opens 
out to us. Men and women can help the spread 
of the saving doctrine in a thousand various ways ; 
for it is not only in homes and schools that minds 
are shaped. They can p^rint and publish books, 
endow schools and teaching, organize the distri- 
bution of literature, insist upon the proper in- 
struction of children in world-wide charity and 
fellowship, fight against every sort of suppression 
or restrictive control of right education, bring 
pressure through political and social channels 
upon every teaching organization to teach history 
aright, sustain missions and a new t sort of mis- 
sionary, the missionaries to all mankind of knowl- 
edge and the idea of one world civilization and one 
world community ; they can promote and help the 
progress of historical and ethnological and politi- 
cal science, they can set their faces against every 
campaign of hate, racial suspicion, and patriotic 
falsehood, they can refuse, they are bound to re- 
fuse, obedience to any public authority which 
oppresses and embitters class against class, race 
against race, and people against people. A bel- 
ligerent government as such, they can refuse to 
obey; and they can refuse to help or suffer any 
military preparations that are not directed whojly 
and plainly to preserving the peace of the world. 
This is the plain duty of every honest man to-day, 


to judge his magistrate before he obeys him, and 
to render unto Caesar nothing that he owes to God 
and mankind. And those who are awakened to 
the full significance of the vast creative effort 
now before mankind will set themselves particu- 
larly to revise the common moral judgment upon 
many acts and methods of living that obstruct 
the way of the world-state. Blatant, aggressive 
patriotism and the incitements against foreign 
peoples that usually go with it, are just as crimi- 
nal and far more injurious to our race than, for 
example, indecent provocations and open incite- 
ments to sexual vice ; they produce a much beast- 
lier and crueller state of mind, and they deserve 
at least an equal condemnation. Yet you will find 
even priests and clergymen to-day rousing the 
war passions of their flocks and preaching con- 
flict from the very steps of the altar* 

So far the movement towards a world-state has 
lacked any driving power of passion. We have 
been passing through a phase of intellectual re- 
vision. The idea of a world unity and brother- 
hood has come back again into the world almost 
apologetically, deferentially, asking for the kind 
words of successful politicians and for a gesture 
of patronage from kings. Tet this demand for 
one world-empire of righteousness was inherent in 
the teachings of Buddha, it flashed for a little 
while behind the sword of Islam, it is the embodi- 
ment in earthly affairs of the spirit of Christ. It 
is a call to men for service as of right, it is not an 
appeal to them that they may refuse, not a voice 


that they may disregard. It is too great a thing 
to hover for long thus deferentially on the out- 
skirts of the active world it has come to save. 
To-day the world-state says : " Please listen; make 
way for me." To-mox^row it will say: "Make 
way for me, little people." The day is not re*' 
mote when disregardful ''patriotic' 3 men hector- 
ing in the crowd will be twisted round perforce to 
the light they refuse to see. First comes the idea 
and then slowly the full comprehension of the idea, 
comes realization, and with that realization will 
come a kindling anger at the vulgarity, the mean- 
ness, the greed and baseness and utter stupidity 
that refuses to attend to this clear voice, this defi- 
nite demand of our racial necessity. To-day we 
teach, but as understanding grows we must begin 
to act. We must put ourselves and our rulers and 
our fellow men on trial. We must ask: "What 
have you done, and what are you doing to- help or 
hinder the peace and order of mankind! 7 ' A time 
will come when a politician who has wilfully made 
war and promoted international dissension will be 
as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose 
than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that 
those who gamble with men's lives should not 
stake their own. The service of the world-state 
calls for much more than passive resistance to 
belligerent authorities, for much more than exem- 
plary martyrdoms. It calls for the greater effort 
of active interference with mischievous men. "I 
will believe in the League of Nations/' one man 
has written, "when men will fight for it." For 


tMs League of Nations at GTeneva, this little corner 
of Balfourian jobs and gentility, no man would 
dream of fighting, "but for the great state of man- 
kind, men will presently be yery ready to fight 
and, as the thing may go, either to Mil or die. 
Things must come in their order; first the idea, 
then the kindling of imaginations, then the world- 
wide battle. We who live in the bleak days after 
a great crisis, need be no more discouraged by the 
apparent indifference of the present time than 
are fields that are ploughed and sown by the wet 
days of February and the cold indifference of the 
winds of early March. The ploughing has been 
done, and the seed is in the ground, and the world- 
state stirs in a multitude of germinating -minds. 


IIJT this paper, I want to tell yon of the idea that 
now shapes and dominates my public life the 
idea of a world politically united of a "world se- 
curely and permanently at peace. And I -want to 
say what I have to say, so far as regards the main 
argument of it, as accurately and plainly as possi- 
ble, without any eloquence or flourishes. 

When I first planned this paper, I chose as the 
title * 4 The Utopia of a World State. > f Well, there 
is something a little too flimsy and unpracticable 
about that word Utopia. To most people Utopia 
conveys the idea of a high-toned political and 
ethical dream agreeable and edifying, no doubt, 
but of no practical value whatever. What I have 
to talk about this evening is not a bit dreamlike, 
it is about real dangers and urgent necessities. It 
is a Project and not a Utopia. It may "be a vast 
and impossible Project. It may be a hopeless 
Project: But if it fails our Civilization fails. 
And so I have called this paper not the Utopia 
but The Project of a World State. 

There are some things that it is almost impos- 
sible to tell without seeming to scream and exag- 

* Written, originally as a lecture to be delivered in America. 



gerate, and yet these things may be in reality the 
soberest matter of fact. I want to say that this 
civilization in which we are living is tumbling 
down, and I think tumbling down very fast; that 
I think rapid enormous efforts will be needed to 
save it; and that I see no such efforts being made 
at the present time. I do not know if these words 
convey any concrete ideas to the reader's mind. 
There are statements that can open such unfa- 
miliar vistas as to seem devoid of any real prac- 
tical meaning at all, and this I think may be one of 

In the past year I have been going about Eu- 
rope. I have had glimpses of a new phase of this 
civilization of ours a new phase that would have 
sounded like a fantastic dream if one had told 
about it ten years ago. I have seen a great city 
that had over two million inhabitants, dying and 
dying with incredible rapidity. In 1914 I was in 
the city of St. Petersburg and it seemed as safe 
and orderly a great city as yours. I went thither 
in comfortable and punctual trains* I stayed in 
an hotel as well -equipped and managed as any 
American hotel. I went to dine with and visit 
households of cultivated people. I walked along 
streets of brilliantly lit and well-furnished shops. 
It was, in fact, much the same sort of life that you 
are living here to-day-^-a ^ part of our (then) 
world-wide modern civilization. 

I revisited these things last summer. I found 
such a spectacle of decay that it seems almost im- 
possible to describe it to those who have never 


seen the like. Streets with great holes where the 
drains had fallen in. Stretches of roadway from 
which the wood paving had been torn for fire- 
wood. Lampposts that had been knocked over 
lying as they were left, without an attempt to set 
them up again. Shops and markets deserted and 
decayed and ruinous. Not closed shops but aban- 
doned shops, as abandoned-looking as an old boot 
or an old can by the wayside. The railways fall- 
ing out of use. A population of half a million 
where formerly there had been two. A strangely 
homeless city, a city of discomforts and anxieties, 
a city of want and ill-health and death. Such was 
Petersburg in 1920. 

I know there are people who have a quick and 
glib explanation of this vast and awe-inspiring 
spectacle of a great empire in collapse. They say 
it is Bolshevism has caused all this destruction. 
But I hope to show here, among other more im- 
portant things, that Bolshevism is merely a part 
of this immense collapse that the overthrow of a 
huge civilized organization needs some more com- 
prehensive explanation than that a little man 
named Lenin was able to get from Geneva to 
Eussia at a particular crisis in Eussian history. 
And particularly is it to be noted that this im- 
mense destruction of civilized life has not been 
confined to Eussia or to regions under Bolshevik 
rule. Austria and Hungary present spectacles 
hardly less desolating than Eussia. There is a 
conspicuous ebb in civilization in Eastern Ger- 
many. And even when you come to France and 


Italy and Ireland there are cities, townships, 
whole wid^ regions, where you can say : This has 
gone back since 1914 and it is still going back in 
material prosperity, in health, in social order. 

Even in England and Scotland, in Holland and 
Denmark and Sweden, it is hard to determine 
whether things are stagnant or moving forward or 
moving back they are certainly not going ahead 
as they were before 1913-14. The feeling in Eng- 
land is rather like the feeling of a man who is not 
quite sure whether he has caught a slight chill or 
whether he is in the opening stage of a serious 

Now what I want to do here is to theorize 
about this shadow, this chill and arrest, that seems 
to have come upon the flourishing and expanding 
civilization in which all of us were born and 
reared. I want to put a particular view of what 
is happening before you, and what it is that we 
are up against. I want to put before you for 
your judgment the view that this overstrain and 
breaking down and stoppage of the great uprush 
of civilization that has gone on for the past three 
centuries is due to the same forces and is the logi- 
cal outcome of the same forces that led to that 
uprush, to that tremendous expansion of human 
knowledge and power and life. And that that 
breaking up is an inevitable thing unless we meet 
it by a very great effort of a particular kind. 

Now the gist of my case is this : That the civ- 
ilization of the past three centuries has produced 
a great store of scientific knowledge, and that this 


scientific knowledge has altered the material scale 
of human affairs and enormously enlarged the 
physical range of human activities, but that there 
has been no adequate adjustment of men's politi- 
cal ideas to the new conditions. 

This adjustment is a subtle and a difficult task. 
It is also a greatly neglected task. And upon the 
possibility of our making this adjustment depends 
the issue whether the ebb of civilizing energy, the 
actual smashing and breaking down of modern 
civilization, which has already gone very far in- 
deed in Eussia and which is going on in most of 
Eastern and Central Europe, extends to the whole 
civilized world. 

Let me make a very rough and small scale anal- 
ysis of what is happening to the world to-day. 
And let us disregard many very important issues 
and concentrate upon the chief, most typical issue, 
the revolution in the facilities of locomotion and 
communication that has occurred to the world and 
the consequences of that revolution. For the in- 
ternational problem to-day is essentially depend- 
ent upon the question of transport and communi- 
cation all others are subordinate to that. I shall 
particularly call your attention to certain wide 
differences between the American case and the 
old-world case in this matter. 

It is not understood clearly enough at the pres- 
ent time how different is the American interna- 
tional problem from the European international 
problem, and how inevitable it is that America and 
Europe should approach, international problems 


from a different angle and in a different spirit. 
Both, lines of thought and experience do, I be- 
lieve, lead at last to .the world state, but they get 
there by a different route and in a different 

The idea that the government of the United 
States can take its place side by side with the 
governments of the old world on terms of equality 
with those governments in order to organize the 
peace of the world, is, I believe, a mistaken and 
unworkable idea. I shall argue that the govern- 
ment of the United States and the community .of 
the United States are things different politically 
and mentally from those of the states of the old 
world, and that the role they are destined to play 
in the development of a world state of mankind 
is essentially a distinctive one. And I sliall try 
to show cause for regarding tHe very noble and 
splendid project of a world-wide League of Na- 
tions that has held the attention of the world for 
the past three years, as one that is, at once, a little 
too much for complete American participation, 
and not sufficient for the urgent needs of Europe. 
It is not really so practicable and reasonable a 
proposition as it seemed at first. 

The idea of a world state, though it looks a far 
greater and more difficult project, is, in the long 
run, a sounder and more hopeful proposition. 

Now let me make myself as clear as I can be 
about the central idea upon which the wliole of the 
arguments in this lecture rests. It is this : forgive 
me for a repetition that there has been a com- 


plete alteration in the range and power of human 
activities in the last hundred years. Men can 
react upon men with a rapidity and at a distance 
inconceivable a hundred years ago. This is 
particularly the case with locomotion and methods 
of communication generally. I will not remind 
you in any detail of facts with which you are 
familiar; how that in the time of Napoleon the 
most rapid travel possible of the great coiiqueror 
himself did not average all over as much as four 
and a half miles an hour. A hundred and seven 
miles a day for thirteen days the pace of his rush 
from Vilna to Paris after the Moscow disaster 
was regarded as a triumph of speed. In those 
days too, it was a marvel that by means of sema- 
phores it was possible to transmit a short mes- 
sage from London to Portsmouth in the course 
of an hour or so. 

Since then we have seen a development of teleg- 
raphy that has at last made news almost simul- 
taneous about the world, and a stea.dy increase in 
the rate of travel until, as we worked it out in the 
Civil Air Transport Committee in London, it is 
possible, if not at present practicable, to fly from 
London to Australia, half way round the earth, 
in about eight days. I say possible, but not prac- 
ticable, because at present properly surveyed 
routes, landing grounds and adequate supplies of 
petrol and spare parts do not exist. Given those 
things, that journey could be done now in the 
time I have stated. This tremendous ehange in 
the range of human activities involves changes in 


the conditions of our political life that we are only 
beginning to work out to their proper conse- 
quences to-day. 

It is a curious thing that America, which owes 
most to this acceleration in locomotion, has felt it 
least. The United States have taken the railway, 
the river steamboat, the telegraph and so forth 
as though they were a natural part of their 
growth. They were not. These things happened 
to come along just in time to save Ajneriean unity. 
The United States of to-day were made first by the 
river steamboat, and then by the railway. With- 
out these things, the present United States, this 
vast continental nation, would have been alto- 
gether impossible. The westward flow of popu- 
lation would have been far more sluggish. It 
might never have crossed the great central plains. 
It took, you will remember, nearly two hundred 
years for effective settlement to reach from the 
coast to the Missouri, much less than half-way 
across the continent. The first state established 
beyond the river was the steamboat state of Mis- 
souri in 1821. But the rest of the distance to the 
Pacific was done in a few decades. 

If we had the resources of the cinema it 
would be interesting to show a map of North 
America year by year from 1600 onward, with 
little dots to represent hundreds of people, each 
dot a hundred, and stars to represent cities of a 
hundred thousand people. 

For two hundred years you would see that stip- 
pling creeping slowly along the coastal districts 


and navigable waters, spreading still more gradu- 
ally into Indiana, Kentucky, and so forth. Then 
somewhere about 1810 would come a change. 
Things would get more lively along the river 
courses. The dots would be multiplying and 
spreading. That would be the steamboat. The 
pioneer dots would be spreading soon from a num- 
ber of jumping-oU places along the great rivers 
over Kansas and Nebraska. 

Then from about 1830 onward would come the 
black lines of the railways, and after that the little 
black dots would not simply creep but run. They 
would appear now so rapidly, it would be almost 
as though they were being put on by some sort of 
spraying machine. And suddenly here and then 
there would appear the first stars to indicate the 
first great cities of a hundred thousand people. 
First one or two and then a multitude of cities 
each like a knot in the growing net of the railways. 

This is a familiar story. I recall it to you now 
to enforce this point that the growth of the 
United States is a process that has no precedent 
in the world's history; it is a new kind of occur- 
rence. Such a community could not have come 
into existence before, and if it had it would, with- 
out railways, have certainly dropped to pieces 
long before now. Without railways or telegraph 
it would be far easier to administer California 
from Pekin than from Washington. But this great 
population of the United States of America has 
not only grown outrageously; it has kept uniform. 
Nay, it has become more uniform. The man of 


San Francisco is more like the man of New York 
to-day than the man of Virginia was like the man 
of New England a century ago. And the process 
of assimilation goes on unimpeded. The United 
States is being woven by railway, by telegraph, 
more and more into one vast human unity, speak- 
ing, thinking, and acting harmoniously with itself. 
Soon aviation will be helping in the work. 

Now this great community of the United States 
is, I repeat, an altogether new thing in history. 
There have been great empires before with popu- 
lations exceeding 100 millions, but these were asso- 
ciations of divergent*peoples ; there has never been 
one single people on this scale before. We want a 
new term for this new thing. We call the United 
States a country, just as we call France or Hol- 
land a country. But really the two things are as 
different as an automobile and a one-horse shay. 
They are the .creations of different periods and 
different conditions; they are going to work at 
a different pace and in an entirely different way. 
If you propose as I gather some of the League 
of Nations people propose to push the Peace of 
the World along on a combination of these two 
sorts of vehicle, I venture to think the Peace of 
the World will be subjected to some very consid- 
erable strains. 

Let me now make a brief comparison between 
the American and the European situation in rela- 
tion to these vital matters, locomotion ^and the 
general means of communicating. I said just now 
that the United States of America owe most to the 


revolution in locomotion and have felt it least. 
Europe on the other hand owes least to the revolu- 
tion in locomotion and has felt it most. The revo- 
lution in locomotion found the United States of 
America a fringe of population on the sea mar- 
gins of a great rich virgin empty country into 
which it desired to expand, and into which it was 
free to expand. The steamboat and railway 
seemed to come as a natural part of that expan- 
sion. They came as unqualified blessings. But 
into Western Europe they came as a frightful 

The States of Europe, excepting Russia, were 
already a settled, established and balanced system,. 
They were living in final and conclusive boundaries 
with no further possibility of peaceful expansion. 
Every extension of a European state involved a 
war; it was only possible through war. And while 
the limits to the United States have been set by 
the steamship and the railroad, the limits to the 
European sovereign states were drawn at a much 
earlier time. They were drawn by the horse, and 
particularly the coach-horse travelling along the 
high road. If you will examine a series of political 
maps of Europe for the last two thousand years, 
you will see that there has evidently been a definite 
limit to the size of sovereign states through all that 
time, due to the impossibility of keeping them 
together because of the difficulty of intercommuni- 
cation if they grew bigger. And this was in spite 
of the fact that there were two great unifying 
ideas present in men's minds in Europe through- 


out that period, namely, the unifying idea of the 
Roman Empire, and the unifying idea of Christen- 
dom. Both these ideas tended to make Europe 
one, but the difficulties of communication defeated 
thai; tendency. It is quite interesting- to watch the 
adventures of what is called first the Roman Em- 
pire and afterwards the Holy Roman Empire, in a 
series of historical maps. It keeps expanding and 
then dropping to pieces again. It is like the efforts 
of someone who is trying to pack up a parcel which 
is much took big, in wet blotting paper. The cohe- 
sion was inadequate. And so it was that the eight- 
eenth century found Europe still divided up into 
what I may perhaps call these high-road and 
coach-horse states, each with a highly developed 
foreign policy, each with an intense sense of na- 
tional difference and each with intense traditional 

Then came this revolution in the means of loco- 
motion, which has increased the normal range of 
human activity at least ten times. The effect of 
that in Ainerica was opportunity; the effect of it 
in Europe was congestion. It is as if some rather 
careless worker of miracles had decided suddenly 
to make giants of a score of ordinary men, and 
chose the moment for the miracle when they were 
all with one exception strap-hanging in a street 
car. The United States was that fortunate ex- 

Now this is what modern civilization has come 
up against, and it is the essential riddle of the 
modern sphinx which must be solved if we are to 


live. All the European boundaries of to-day are 
impossibly small for modern conditions. And they 
are sustained by an intensity of ancient tradition 
and patriotic passion. . . . That is where we 

The citizens of the United States of America are 
not without their experience in this matter. The 
crisis of the national history of the American 
community, the war between Union and Secession, 
was essentially a crisis between the great state of 
the new age and the local feeling of an earlier 
period. But Union triumphed. Americans live 
now in a generation that has almost forgotten that 
there once seemed a possibility that the map of 
North America might be broken up at last Into as 
many communities as the map of Europe. Except 
by foreign travel, the present generation of Ameri- 
cans can have no idea of the net of vexations and 
limitations in which Europeans are living at the 
present time because of their political disunion. 

Let me take a small but quite significant set of 
differences, the inconveniences of travel upon a 
journey of a little over a thousand miles. They 
are in themselves petty inconveniences, but they 
will serve to illustrate the net that is making free 
civilized life in Europe more and more impossible. 

Take first the American case. An American 
wants to travel from New York to St. Louis. He 
looks up the next train, packs his bag, gets aboard 
a sleeper and turns out at St. Louis next day 
ready for business. 

Take now the European parallel. A European 


wants to travel from London to Warsaw. Now 
that is a shorter distance by fifty or sixty miles 
than the distance from New York to St. Louis. 
Will he pack his bag, get aboard a train and go 
there ? He will not. He will have to get a pass- 
port, and getting a passport involves all sorts of 
tiresome little errands. One has to go to a photog- 
rapher, for example, to get photographs to stick 
on the passport. The good European has then to 
take his passport to the French representative in 
London for a French visa, or, if he is going 
through Belgium, for a Belgian visa. After that 
he must get a German visa. Then he must go 
round to the Ozecho-Slovak office for a Czecho- 
slovak visa. Finally willcome the Polish visa. 

Each of these endorsements necessitates some- 
thing vexatious, personal attendance, photogra- 
phy, stamps, rubber stamps, mysterious signa- 
tures and the like, and always the payment of fees. 
Also they necessitate delays. The other day I had 
occasion to go to Moscow, and I learnt that it 
takes three weeks to get a visa for Finland and 
three weeks to get a visa for Esthonia. You see 
you can't travel about Europe at all without weeks 
and weeks of preparation. The preparations for 
a little journey to Russia the other day took three 
whole days out of my life, cost me several pounds 
in stamps and fees, and five in bribery. 

Ultimately, however, the good European is free 
to start. Arriving at the French frontier in an 
hour or so, he wiU be held up for a long customs J 
examination. Also he will need to change some 


of Ms money into francs. His English money will 
be no good in France. The exchange in Europe 
is always fluctuating, and he will be cheated on the 
exchange. All European countries, including my 
own, cheat travellers on the exchange that is 
apparently what the exchange is for. 

He will then travel for a few hours to the Ger- 
man frontier. There he will be bundled out again. 
The French will investigate him closely to see that 
he is not carrying gold or large sums of money 
out of France. Then he will be handed over to the 
Germans. He will go through the same business 
with the customs and the same business with the 
money. His French money is no further use to 
him and he must get German. A few more hours 
and he will arrive on the frontier of Bohemia. 
Same search for gold. Then customs ' examination 
and change of money again. A few hours more 
and he will be in Poland. Search for gold, cus- 
toms, fresh money. 

As most of these countries are pursuing differ- 
ent railway policies, he will probably have to 
change trains and rebook his luggage three or four 
times. The trains may be ingeniously contrived 
not to connect so as to force him to take some 
longer route politically favoured by one of the in- 
tervening states. He will be lucky if he gets to 
Warsaw in four days. 

Arrived in Warsaw, he will probably need a 
permit to stay there, and he will certainly need no 
end of permits to leave. 

Now here is a fuss over a fiddling little journey 


of 1,100 miles. Is it any wonder that the book- 
ings from London to "Warsaw are infinitesimal in 
comparison with the bookings from New York to 
St. Louis? But what I have noted here are only 
the- normal inconveniences of the traveller. They 
are by no means the most serious inconveniences. 

The same obstructions ' that hamper the free 
movement of a traveller, hamper the movement 
of foodstuffs and all sorts of merchandise in a 
much greater degree. Everywhere in Europe 
trade is being throttled by tariffs and crippled by 
the St. Vitus' dance of the exchanges. Each of 
these European sovereign states turns out paper 
money at its own sweet will. Last summer I went 
to Prague and exchanged pounds for kr oners. 
They ought to have been 25 to the poamd. On 
Monday they were 180 to the pound : on Friday 
169. They jump about between 220 and 150, and 
everybody is inconvenienced except the bankers 
and money changers. And this uncertain exchange 
diverts considerable amounts of money that should 
be stimulating business -enterprise into a barren 
and mischievous gambling with the circulation. 

Between each one of these compressed European 
countries the movement of food or labour is still 
more blocked and impeded. And in addition to 
these nuisances of national tariffs and independ- 
ent national coinages at every few score miles, 
Europe is extraordinarily crippled by its want of 
any central authority to manage the most ele- 
mentary collective interests; the control of vice, 


for example ; the handling of infectious diseases ; 
the suppression of international criminals. 

Europe is now confronted by a new problem 
the problem of air transport. So far as I can see, 
air transport is going to be strangled in Europe 
by international difficulties. One can fly comfort- 
ably and safely from London to Paris in two or 
three hours. But the passport preliminaries will 
take days beforehand. 

The other day I wanted to get quickly to Beval 
in Esthonia from England and back again. The 
distance is about the same as from Boston to Min- 
neapolis, and it could be done comfortably in 10 
or 12 hours ' flying. I proposed to the Handley, 
Page Company that they should arrange this for 
me. They explained that they had no power to 
fly beyond Amsterdam in Holland; thence it might 
be possible to get a German plane to Hamburg, 
and thence again a Danish plane to Copenhagen 
leaving about 500 miles which were too compli- 
cated politically to fly. Each stoppage would in- 
volve passport and other difficulties. In the end 
it took me five days to get to Eeval and seven days 
to get back. In Europe, with its present frontiers, 
flying is not worth having. It can never be worth 
having it can never be worked successfully until 
it is worked as at least a pan-European affair. 

All these are the normal inconveniences of the 
national divisions of Europe in peace time. By 
themselves they are strangling all hope of eco- 
nomic recovery. For Europe is not getting on to 
its feet economically. Only a united effort can 


effect that. But along each, of the ridiculously 
restricted frontiers into which the European coun- 
tries are packed, lies also the possibility of war. 
National independence means the right to declare 
war. And so each of these packed and strangu- 
lated European countries is obliged, by its blessed 
independence, to maintain as big an army and as 
big a military equipment as its bankrupt condition 
for we are all bankrupt permits. 

Since the end of the great war, nothing has 
been done of any real value to ensure any Euro- 
pean country against the threat of war, and noth- 
ing will be done, and nothing can be done to lift 
that threat, so long as the idea of national inde- 
pendence overrides all other considerations. 

And again, it is a little difficult for a mind accus- 
tomed to American conditions, to realize what 
modern war will mean in Europe. 

Not one of these sovereign European states I 
have named between London and Warsaw is any 
larger than the one single American state of 
Texas, and not one has a capital that cannot be 
effectively bombed by aeroplane raiders from its 
frontier within five or six hours of a declaration 
of war. We can fly from London to Paris in two or 
three hours. And the aerial bombs of to-day, I 
can assure you, will make the biggest bombs of 
1918 seem like little crackers. Over all these Euro- 
pean countries broods this immediate threat of a 
warfare that will strain and torment the nerves^of 
every living man, woman or child in the countries 
affected. Nothing- of the sort can approach the 


American citizen except after a long" warning. 
The worst war that could happen to ajay North 
American country would merely touch its coasts. 

Now I have dwelt 011 these differences between 
America and Europe because they involve an ab- 
solute difference in outlook towards world peace 
projects, towards leagues of nations, world states 
and the like, between the American and the 

The American lives in a political unity on the 
big modern scale. He can go on comfortably for 
a hundred years yet before he begins to feel tight 
in his political skin, and before he begins to feel 
the threat of immediate warfare close to his do- 
mestic life. He believes by experience in peace, 
but he feels under no passionate urgency to organ- 
ize it. So far as he himself is concerned, he has 
got peace organized for a good long time ahead. I 
doubt if it would make any very serious difference 
for some time in the ordinary daily life of Kansas 
City, let us say, if all Europe were reduced to a 
desert in the next five years. 

But on the other hand, the intelligent European 
is up against the unity of Europe problem night 
and day. Europe cannot go on. European civili- 
zation cannot go on, unless that net of boundaries 
which strangles her is dissolved away. The dif- 
ficulties created by language differences, by bit- 
ter national traditions, by bad political habits and 
the like, are no doubt stupendous. But stupendous 
though they are, they have to be faced. Unless 
they are overcome, and overcome in a very few 


years, Europe entangled in this net of bound- 
aries, and under a perpetual fear of war, will, I 
am convinced, follow Russia and slide down be- 
yond any hope of recovery into a process of social 
dissolution as profound and disastrous as that 
which closed the career of the Western Roman 

The American intelligence and the European 
intelligence approach this question of a world 
peace, therefore, from an entirely different angle 
and in an entirely different spirit. To the Ameri- 
can in the blessed ease of his great unbroken ter- 
ritory, it seems a matter simply of making his 
own ample securities world-wide by treaties of 
arbitration and such-like simple agreements. And 
my impression is that he thinks of Europeans as 
living under precisely similar conditions. 

Nothing of that sort will meet the problem of 
the old world. The European situation is alto- 
gether more intense and tragic than the American. 
Europe needs not treaties but a profound change 
in its political ideas and habits. Europe is satu- 
rated with narrow patriotism like a body saturated 
by some evil inherited disease. She is haunted by 
narrow ambitions and ancient animosities. 

It is because of this profound difference of situ- 
ation and outlook that I am convinced of the im- 
possibility of any common political co-operation 
to organize a world peace between America and 
Europe at the present time. 

The American type of state and the European 
type of state are different things, incapable of an 


effectual alliance; the steam tractor and the ox 
cannot plough this furrow together. American 
thought, American individuals, may no doubt play 
a very great part in the task of reconstruction that 
lies before Europe, but not the American federal 
government as a sovereign state among equal 

The United States constitute a state on a dif- 
ferent scale and level from any old world state. 
Patriotism and the national idea in America is a 
different thing and a bigger scale thing than the 
patriotism and national idea in any old world 

Any League of Nations aiming at stability now, 
would necessarily be a league seeking to stereo- 
type existing boundaries and existing national 
ideas. Now these boundaries and these ideas are 
just what have to be got rid of at any cost. Be- 
fore Europe can get on to a level and on to equal 
terms with the United States, the European com- 
munities have to go through a process that Amer- 
ica went through under much easier conditions 
a century and a half ago. They have to repeat, on 
a much greater scale and against prof ounder prej- 
udices, the feat of understanding and readjust- 
ment that was accomplished by the American peo- 
ple between 1781 and 1788. 

As you will all remember, these States after 
they had decided upon Independence, framed cer- 
tain Articles of Confederation ; they were articles 
of confederation between thirteen nations, between 
the people of Massachusetts, the people of Vir- 


ginia, the^ people of Georgia, and so forth thir- 
teen distinct and separate sovereign peoples. 
They made a Union so lax and feeble that it could 
neither keep order at home nor maintain respect 
abroad Then they produced another constitu- 
tion. They swept aside all that talk about the peo- 
ple of Massachusetts, the people of Virginia, and 
the rest of their thirteen nations. They based their 
union on a wider idea: the people of the United 

Now Europe, if it is not to sink down to anar- 
chy, has to do a parallel thing. If Europe is to 
be saved from ultimate disaster, Europe has to 
stop thinking in terms of the people of France, 
the people of England, the people of Germany, 
the French, the British, the Germans, and so forth. 
Europe has to think at least of the people of 
Europe, if not of the civilized people of the, world. 
If we Europeans cannot bring our minds to that, 
there is no hope for us. Only by thinking of all 
peoples can any people be saved in Europe. Fresh 
wars will destroy the social fabric of Europe, and 
Europe will perish as nations, fighting. 

There are many people who think that there is at 
least one political system in the old world which, 
like the United States, is large enough and world- 
wide enough to go on by itself under modern con- 
ditions for some considerable time. They think 
that the British Empire can, as it were, stand out 
of the rest of the Old World as a self-sufficient 
system. They think that it can stand out freely 
as the United States can stand out, and that these 


two English-speaking powers have merely to agree 
together to dominate and keep the peace of the 

Let me give a little attention to this idea. It 
is I believe a wrong idea, and one that may be 
very disastrous to our common English-speaking 
culture if it is too fondly cherished. 

There can be no denying that the British Im- 
perial system is a system different in its nature 
and size from a typical European state, from a 
state of the horse and road scale, like France, let 
us say, or Germany, And equally it is with the 
United States a new growth. The present British 
Empire is indeed a newer growth than the United 
States. But while the United States constitute a 
homogeneous system and grow more homogeneous, 
the British Empire is heterogeneous and shows lit- 
tle or no assimilative power. And while the 
United States are all gathered together and are 
still very remote from any serious antagonist the 
British Empire is scattered all over the world, en- 
tangled with and stressed against a multitude of 
possible antagonists. 

I have been arguing that the size and manage- 
ability of all political states is finally a matter of 
transport and communications. They grow to a 
limit strictly determined by these considerations. 
Beyond that limit they are unstable. Let us now 
apply these ideas to the British Empire. 

I have shown that the great system of the 
United States is the creation of the river steam- 
boat and the railway. Quite as much so is the 


present British Empire the creation of the ocean- 
going steamship protected by a great navy. 

The British Empire is a modern ocean state just 
as the United States is a modern continental state. 
The political and economic cohesion of the British 
Empire rests upon this one thing, upon the steam- 
ship remaining the dominant and secure means of 
world transport in the future. If the British Em- 
pire is to remain sovereign and secure and inde- 
pendent of the approval and co-operation of other 
states, it is necessary that steamship transport 
(ocean transport) should remain dominant in 
peace and invulnerable in war. 

Well, that brings us face to face with two com- 
paratively new facts that throw a shadow upon 
both that predominance and upon that invulnera- 
bility* One is air transport the other the subma- 
rine. The possibilities of the ocean-going subma- 
rine I will not enlarge upon now. They will be 
familiar to everyone who followed the later phases 
of the great war. 

It must be clear that sea power is no longer the 
simple and decisive thing it was before the com- 
ing of the submarine. The sea ways can no longer 
be taken and possessed completely. To no other 
power, except Japan, is this so grave a considera- 
tion as it is to Britain. 

And if we turn to the possibilities of air-trans- 
port in the future we are forced towards the same 
conclusion, that the security of the British Empire 
must rest in the future not on its strength in 


warfare, but on its keeping the peace within and 
without its boundaries. 

I was a member of the British Civil Air Trans- 
port Committee, and we went with care and thor- 
oughness into the possibilities and probabilities 
of the air. My work on that committee convinced 
me that in the near future the air may be the chief 
if not the only highway for long-distance mails, 
for long-distance passenger traffic, and for the 
carriage of most valuable and compact commodi- 
ties. The ocean ways are likely to be only the 
ways for slow travel and for staple and bulky 

And my studies on that committee did much to 
confirm my opinion that in quite a brief time the 
chief line of military attack will be neither by sea 
nor land but through the air. Moreover, it was 
borne in upon me that the chief air routes of the 
world will lie over the great plains of the world, 
that they will cross wide stretches of sea or moun- 
tainous country only very reluctantly. 

Now think of how the British Empire lies with 
relation to the great sea and land masses of the 
world. There has been talk in Great Britain of 
what people have called "aU-red air routes, " that 
is to say, all-British air routes. There are no all- 
red air routes. You cannot get out of Britain to 
any other parts of the Empire, unless perhaps it is 
Canada, without crossing foreign territory. That 
is a fact that British people have to face and di- 
gest, and the sooner they grasp it the better for 
them. Britain cannot use air ways even to develop 


her commerce in peace time without tlie consent 
and co-operation of a large number of lier inter- 
vening 1 neighbours. If she embarks single-handed 
on any considerable war she will find both her air 
and her sea communications almost completely cut. 
And so the British Empire, in spite of its size 
and its modernity, is not much better off now in the 
way of standing- alone than the other European 
countries. It is no exception to our generalization 
that (apart from all other questions) the scale and 
form of the European states are out of harmony 
with contemporary and developing transport con- 
ditions, and that all these powers are, if only on 
this account, under one urgent necessity to sink 
those ideas of complete independence that have 
hitherto dominated them. It is a life and death 
necessity. If they cannot obey it they will all be 



IN- my opening argument I have shown the con- 
nection between the present intense political trou- 
bles of the world and more particularly of Europe, 
and the advance in mechanical knowledge during 
the past hundred and fifty years. I have shown 
that without a very drastic readjustment of politi- 
cal ideas and habits, there opens before Europe 
and the world generally, a sure prospect of degen- 
erative conflicts ; that without such a readjustment, 
our civilization has passed its zenith and must 
continue the process of collapse that has been in 
progress since August, 1914. 

Now this readjustment meazrs an immediate con- 
flict with existing patriotism. We have embarked 
here upon a discussion in which emotion and pas- 
sion seem quite unavoidable, the discussion of 
nationality. At the very outset we bump violently 
against patriotism as any European understands 
that word. And it is, I hold, impossible not to 
bump against European patriotisms. We cannot 
temporize with patriotism, as one finds it in Eu- 
rope, and get on towards a common, human wel- 
fare. The two things are flatly opposed. One or the 
other must be sacrificed. The political and social 



muddle of Europe at tlie present time is yerj 
largely due to the attempt to compromise between 
patriotism and the common good of Europe. 

Do we want to get rid of patriotism altogether? 

I do not think we want to get rid of patriotism, 
and I do not think we could, even if we wanted to 
do so. It seems to be necessary to his moral life, 
that a man should feel himself part of a commu- 
nity, belonging to it, and it belonging to him. And 
that this community should be a single and lovable 
reality, inspired by a common idea, with a common 
f ashion and aim. 

But a point I have been trying to bring out 
throughout all this argument so far is this that 
when a European goes to the United States of 
America he 'finds a new sort of state, materially 
bigger and materially less encumbered than any 
European state. And he also finds an intensely 
patriotic people whose patriotism isn't really the 
equivalent of a European patriotism. It is his- 
torically and practically a synthesis of European 
patriotisms. It is numerically bigger. It is geo- 
graphically ten times as big. That is very impor- 
tant indeed from the point of view of this discus- 
sion. And it is synthetic; it is a thing made out 
of something smaller. People, I believe, talk of 
100 per cent. Americans. There is no 100 per cent. 
American except the Bed Indian. There isn't a 
white man in the United States from whose blood 
a large factor of European patriotism hasn't been 
washed out to make way for Ms American patri- 


Upon tHs faet of American patriotism, as a 
larger different thing than European patriotism, I 
build. The thing can be done. If it can be done 
in the Europeans and their descendants who have 
come to America, it can conceivably be done in the 
Europeans who abide in Europe. And how can 
we set aJbout doing it? 

America, the silent, comprehensive continent of 
America, did the thing by taMng all the various 
nationalities who have made up her population and 
obliging them to live together. 

Unhappily we cannot take the rest of our Euro- 
pean nations now and put them on to a great virgin 
continent to learn a wider political wisdom. There 
are no more virgin continents. Europe must stay 
where she is. ... 

Now I am told it sometimes helps scientific men 
to clear up their ideas about a process by imagin- 
ing that process reversed and so getting a view 'of 
it from a different direction. Let us then, for a 
few moments, instead of talking of the expansion 
and synthesis of patriotism in Europe, imagine a 
development of narrow patriotism in America and 
consider how that case could be dealt with. 

Suppose, for instance, there was a serious out- 
break of local patriotism in Kentucky. Suppose 
you found the people of Kentucky starting a flag 
of their own and objecting to what they would 
probably call the " vague internationalism" of the 
stars and stripes. Suppose you found them want- 
ing to set up tariff barriers to the trade of the 
states round about them. Suppose you found they 


were preparing- to annex considerable parts of the 
State of Virginia by force, in order to secure a 
proper strategic frontier among the mountains to 
the east, and that they were also talking darkly of 
their need for an outlet to the sea of their very 

"What would an American citizen think of such 
an outbreak? He would probably think that Ken- 
tucky had gone mad. But this, which seems such 
fantastic behaviour when we imagine it occurring 
in Kentucky, is exactly what is happening in Eu- 
rope in the case of little states that are hardly 
any larger than Kentucky. They have always 
been so. They have not gone mad; if this sort 
of thing is madness then they were born mad. 
And they have never been cured. A state of af- 
fairs that is regarded in Europe as normal would 
be regarded in the United States as a grave case 
of local mental trouble. 

And what would the American community prob- 
ably do in such a case? It would probably begin 
by inquiring where Kentucky had got these 
strange ideas. They would look for sources of 
infection. Somebody must have been preaching 
there or writing in the newspapers or teaching 
mischief in the school. And I suppose the people 
of the United States would set themselves very 
earnestly to see that sounder sense was talked and 
taught to the people of Kentucky about these 

Now that is precisely what has to be done* in 
the parallel European case. Everywhere in Eu- 


rope there goes on in the national schools, in the 
patriotic churches, in the national presses, in the 
highly nationalized literatures, a unity-destroying 
propaganda of patriotism. The schools of all the 
European countries at the present time with 
scarcely an exception, teach the most rancid patri- 
otism; they are centres of an abominable political 
infection. The children of Europe grow up with 
an intensity of national egotism that makes them, 
for all practical international purposes, insane. 
They are not born with it, but they are infected 
with it as soon as they can read and write. The 
British learn nothing but the glories of Britain 
and the British Empire; the French are, if posr 
sible, still more insanely concentrated on France ; 
the Germans are just recovering from the bitter 
consequences of forty years of intensive national- 
ist education. And so on. Every country in 
Europe is its own Sinn Fein, cultivating that ugly 
and silly obsession of " ourselves alone. n "Our- 
selves alone " is the sure guide to conflict and dis- 
aster, to want, misery, violence, degradation and 
death for our children and our children's children 
until our race is dead. 

The first task before us in Europe is, ,at any 
cost, to release our children from this nationalist 
obsession, to teach the mass of European people 
a little truthful history in which each one will sec 
the past and future of his own country in their 
proper proportions, and a little truthful ethnology 
in which each country will get over the delusion 
that its people are a distinct and individual race* 


The history teaching in the schools of Europe is 
at the very core of this business. 

But that is only, so to speak, the point of appli- 
cation of great complex influences, the influences 
that mould us in childhood, the teachings of litera- 
ture, of the various religious bodies, and the daily 
reiteration of the press. Before Europe can get 
on, there has to be a colossal turnover of these 
moral and intellectual forces in the direction of 
creating an international mind. If that can be 
effected then there is hope for Europe and the Old 
World. If it cannot be effected, then certainly 
Europe will go down with its flags nailed to its 
masts. "We are on a sinking ship that only one 
thing* can save. We have to oust these European 
patriotisms by some greater idea or perish. 

What is this greater idea to be? 

Now I submit that this greater idea had best be 
the idea of the World State of All Mankind. 

I will admit that so far I have made a case only 
for teaching the idea of a United States of Europe 
in Europe. I have concentrated our attention 
upon that region of maximum congestion and con- 
flict. But as a matter of fact there are no real and 
effective barriers and boundaries in the Old 
World between Europe and Asia and Africa. The 
ordinary Eussian talks of "Europe" as one who 
is outside it. The European political ^systems 
flow over and have always overflowed into the 
greater areas to the east and south. Remember 
the early empires of Macedonia and Rome. See 
how the Russian language runs to the Pacific, and 


how Islam radiates into all three continents. I 
will not elaborate this case. 

When you bear such things in mind, I think 
you will agree with me that if we are to talk of 
a United States of Europe, it is just as easy and 
practicable to talk of a United States of the Old 
World. And are we to stop at a United States 
of the Old World! 

No doubt the most evident synthetic forces in 
America at the present time point towards some 
sort of pan- American unification. That is the 
nearest thing. That may come first. 

But are we to contemplate a sort of dual world 
the New World against the Old? 

I do not think that would be any very perma- 
nent or satisfactory stopping-place. "Why make 
two bites at a planet? If we work for unity on 
the large scale we are contemplating, we may as 
well work for world unity. 

Not only in distance but in a score of other 
matters are London and Rome nearer to New 
York than is Patagonia, and San Francisco is 
always likely to be more interesting to Japan than 
Paris or Madrid. I cannot see any reason for 
supposing that the mechanical drawing together 
of the peoples of the world into one economic 
and political unity is likely to cease unless our 
civilization ceases. I see no signs that our present 
facilities for transport a,nd communication are the 
ultimate possible facilities. Once we break away 
from current nationalist limitations in our politi- 
cal ideas, then there is no reason and no advantage 


in contemplating any halfway house to a complete 
human unity. 

Now after what I have been saying it is very 
easy to explain why I would have this idea of 
human unity put before people's minds in the form 
of a World State and not of a League of Nations. 

Let me first admit the extraordinary educa- 
tional value of the League of Nations propaganda, 
and of the attempt that has been made to create 
a League of Nations. It has brought before the 
general intelligence of the world the proposition 
of a world law and a world unity that could not 
perhaps have been broached in any other way. 

But is it a league of nations that is wanted? 

I submit to you that the word " nations" is 
just the word that should have been avoided that 
it admits and tends to stereotype just those con- 
ceptions of division and difference that we must 
at any cost minimize and obliterate if our species 
is to continue. And the phrase has a thin, and 
legal and litigious flavour. What loyalty and what 
devotion can we expect this multiple association to 
command? It has no unity no personality. It 
is like asking a man to love the average member 
of a woman's club instead of loving his wife. 

For the idea of Man, for human unity, for our 
common blood, for the one order of the world, I 
can imagine men living and dying, but not for a 
miscellaneous assembly that will not mix even 
in its name. It has no central idea, no heart to 
it, this League of Nations formula. It is weak 
and compromising just where it should be strong 


in defining its antagonism to separate national 
sovereignty. For that is what it aims at, if it 
means business. If it means business it means at 
least a super-state overriding the autonomy of 
existing states, and if it does not mean business 
then we have no use for it whatever. 

It may seem a much greater undertaking to 
attack nationality and nationalism instead of 
patching up a compromise with these things, but 
along the line of independent -nationality lies no 
hope of unity and peace and continuing progress 
for mankind. "We cannot suffer these old concen- 
trations of loyalty because we want that very 
loyalty which now concentrates upon them to 
cement and sustain the peace of all the world. 
Just as in the past provincial patriotisms have 
given place to national patriotisms, so now we 
need to oust these still top narrow devotions by a 
new unity and a new reigning idea, the idea of 
one state and one flag in all the earth. 

The idea of the World States stands to the idea 
of the League of Nations much as the idea of the 
one God of Earth and Heaven stands to a Divine 
Committee composed of Wodin and Baal and 
Jupiter and Amnon Ea and Mumbo Jumbo and 
all the other national and tribal gods. There is 
no compromise possible in the one matter as in 
the other. There is no way round. The task be- 
fore mankind is to substitute the one common idea 
of an overriding world commonweal for the multi- 
tudinous ideas of little commonweals that prevail 
everywhere to-day. We have already glanced at 


the near and current consequences of our failure 
to bring about that substitution. 

Now this is an immense proposal. Is it a 
preposterous one? Let us not shirk the tremen- 
dous scale upon which the foundations of a world- 
state of all mankind must be laid. But remember 
however great that task before us may seem, how- 
ever near it may come to the impossible, never- 
theless, in the establishment of one world rule and 
one world law lies the only hope of escape from 
an increasing tangle of wars, from social over- 
strain, and at last a social dissolution so complete 
as to end for ever the tale of mankind as we under- 
stand mankind. 

Personally I am appalled by the destruction 
already done in the world in the past seven years. 
I doubt if any untravelled American can realize 
how much of Europe is already broken up. I do 
not think many people realize how swiftly Europe 
is still sinking, how urgent it is to get European 
affairs put back upon a basis of the common good 
if civilization is to be saved. 

And now, as to the immensity of this project 
of substituting loyalty to a world commonweal for 
loyalty to a single egotistical belligerent nation. 
It is a project to invade hundreds of millions of 
minds, to attack certain ideas established in those 
minds and either to efface those ideas altogether 
or to supplement and correct them profoundly by 
this new idea of a human commonweal. We have 
to get not only into the at present intensely 
patriotic minds of Frenchmen, G-ermans, English, 


Irish and Japanese, but Into tlie remote and 
difficult minds of Arabs and Indians and into the 
minds of the countless millions of China. Is there 
any precedent to justify us in hoping that such a 
change in world ideas is possible? 

I think there is. I would suggest that the 
general tendency of thought about these things 
to-day is altogether too sceptical of what teaching 
and propaganda can do in these matters. In the 
past there have been very great changes in human 
thought. I need scarcely remind you of the spread 
of Christianity in Western Europe. In a few 
centuries the whole of Western Europe was 
changed from the wild confusion of warring tribes 
that succeeded the breakdown of the Eoman 
Empire, into the unity of Christendom, into a 
community with such an idea of unity that it could 
be roused from end to end by the common idea 
of the Crusades. 

Still more remarkable was the swift trans- 
formation in less than a century of all the nations 
and peoples to the south and west of the Medi- 
terranean, from Spain to Central Asia, into the 
unity of Islam, a unity which has lasted to this 
day. In both these cases, what I may call the 
mental turnover was immense. 

I think if yon will consider the spread of these 
very complex and difficult religions, and compare 
the means at the disposal of their promoters with 
the means at the disposal of intelligent people 
to-day, you will find many reasons for believing 
that a recasting of people's ideas into the frame- 


work of a universal state is by no means an 
impossible project. 

Those great teachings of the past were spread 
largely by word of month. Their teachers had 
to travel slowly and dangerously. People were 
gathered together to hear with great difficulty, ex- 
cept in a few crowded towns. Books conld be used 
only sparingly. Few people could read, fewer still 
could translate, and MSS. were copied with 
extreme slowness upon parchment. There was 
no printing, no paper, no post. And except for a 
very few people there were no schools. Both 
Christendom and Islam had to create their com- 
mon schools in order to preserve even a 

of their doctrine intact from generation to genera- 
tion. All this was done in the teeth of much bitter 
opposition and persecution. 

Now to-day we have means of putting ideas and 
arguments swiftly and effectively before people all 
over the world at the same time, such as no one 
could have dreamt of a hundred years ago. We 
have not only books and papers, but in the cinema 
we have a means of rapid, vivid presentation still 
hardly used. We have schools nearly everywhere. 
And here in the need for an overruling world state, 
and the idea of world service replacing combative 
patriotism, we have an urgent, a commanding 
human need. We have an invincible case for this 
world state and an unanswerable objection to the 
nationalisms and patriotisms that would oppose 

Is it not almost inevitable that some of us should 


get together and begin a propaganda upon modern 
lines of this organized world peace, without which 
our race must perish? The world perishes for the 
want of a common political idea. It is still quite 
possible to give the world this common political 
idea, the idea of a federal world state. We can- 
not help but set about doing it. 

So I put it to you that the most important 
work before men and women to-day is the preach- 
ing and teaching, the elaboration and then at last 
the realization of this Project of the World State, 
We have to create a vision of it, to make it seem 
first a possibility and then an approaching reality. 
This is a task that demands the work and thought 
of thousands of minds. We have to spread the 
idea of a Federal World State, as an approaching 
reality, throughout the world. We can do this 
nowadays through a hundred various channels. 
We can do it through the press, through all sorts 
of literary expression, in our schools, colleges, and 
universities, through political mouthpieces, by 
special organizations, and last, but not least, 
through the teaching of the churches. For remem- 
ber that all the great religions of the world are in 
theory universalist; they may tolerate the divi- 
sions of men but they cannot sanction them. We 
propose no religious revolution, but at most a 
religious revival. We can spread ideas and sug- 
gestions now with a hundred times the utmost 
rapidity of a century ago. 

TMs movement need not at once intervene in 
politics. It is a prospective movement, and its 


special concern will be with young and still grow- 
ing minds. But as it spreads it will inevitably 
change politics. The nations, states, and king- 
doms of to-day, which fight and scheme against 
each other as though they had to go on fighting 
and scheming for ever, will become more and more 
openly and manifestly merely guardian govern- 
ments, governments playing a waiting part in the 
world, while the world state comes of age. For 
this World State, for which the world is waiting^ 
must necessarily be a fusion of all governments, 
and heir to all the empires. 

So far I have been occupied by establishing a 
case for the World State. It has been, I fear, 
rather an abstract discussion. I have kept closely 
to the bare hard logic of the present human sit- 

But now let me attempt very briefly, in the 
barest outline, some concrete realization of what 
a World State would mean. Let us try and con- 
ceive for ourselves the form a World State would 
take. I do not care to leave this discussion with 
nothing to it but a phrase which is really hardly 
more than a negative phrase until we put some 
body to it. As it stands World State means simply 
a politically undivided world. Let us try and 
carry that over to the idea of a unified organized 
state throughout the world. 

Let us try to imagine what a World Govern- 
ment would be like. I find that when one speaks 
of a World State people think at once of some 
existing government and magnify it to world pro- 


portions. They ask, for example, where will the 
"World Congress meet ; and how will you elect your 
World President? Won't your World President, 
they say, be rather a tremendous personage? How 
are we to choose him? Or will there be a World 
King? These are very natural questions, at the 
first onset. But are they sound questions? 
May they not be a little affected by false anal- 
ogies? The governing of the whole of the world 
may turn out to be not a magnified version of 
governing a part of the world, but a different sort 
of job altogether. These analogies that people 
draw so readily from national states may not 
really work in a World State. 

And first with regard to this question of a 
king or president. Let us ask whether it is prob- 
able that the World State will have any single 
personal head at all? 

Is the World State likely to be a monarchy 
either an elective short term limited monarchy 
such as is the United States, or an inherited 
limited monarchy like the British Empire? 

Many people will say, you mu'st have a head of 
the state. But must you? Is not this idea a 
legacy from the days when states were small com- 
munities needing a leader in war and diplomacy? 

In the World State we must remember there 
will be no war and no diplomacy as such. 

I would even question whether in such a great 
modern state as the U.S.A. the idea and the 
functions of the president may not be made too 
important. Indeed I believe that question has 


been asked by many people in the States lately, 
and has been answered in the affirmative. 
^ The broad lines of the United States Constitu- 
tion were drawn in a period of almost universal 
monarchy. American affairs were overshadowed 
by the personality of George "Washington, and as 
you know, monarchist ideas were so rife that there 
was a project, during the years of doubt and 
division that followed the War of Independence, 
for importing a German King, a Prussian Prince, 
in imitation of the British Monarchy, But if the 
United States were beginning again to-day on its 
present scale, would it put so much power and 
importance upon a single individual as it put 
upon George "Washington and his successors in 
the White House? I doubt it very much. 

There may be a limit, I suggest, to the size and 
complexity of a community that can be directed 
by a single personal head. Perhaps that limit 
may have been passed by both the United States 
and by the British Empire at the present time. 
It may be possible for one person to be leader 
and to have an effect of directing personality in a 
community of millions or even of tens of millions. 
But is it possible for one small short-lived in- 
dividual to get over and affect and make any sort 
of contact with hundreds of millions in thousands 
of towns and cities? 

Eecently we have watched with admiration and 
sympathy the heroic efforts of the Prince of Wales 
to shake hands with and get his smile well home 
into the hearts of the entire population of the 


British Empire of which he is destined to become 
the " golden link." After tremendous exertions 
a very large amount of the ground still remains 
to be covered. 

I will confess I cannot see any single individual 
human head in my vision of the World State. 

The linking reality of the World State is much 
more likely to be not an individual but an idea 
such an idea as that of a human commonweal 
under the G-od of all mankind. 

If at any time, for any purpose, some one in- 
dividual had to step out and act for the World 
State as a whole, then I suppose the senior judges 
of the Supreme Court, or the Speaker of the 
Council, or the head of the Associated Scientific 
Societies, or some such person, could step out and 
do what had to be done. 

But if there is to be no single head person, 
there must be at least some sort of assembly or 
council. That seems to be necessary. But will 
it be a gathering at all like Congress or the British 
Parliament, with a Government side and an 
opposition ruled by party traditions and party 

^There again, I think we may be too easily 
misled by existing but temporary conditions. I 
do not think it is necessary to assume that the 
council of the World State will be an assembly of 
party politicians. I believe it will be possible to 
have it a real gathering of representatives, a fair 
sample of the thought and will of mankind at 
large, and to avoid a party development by a more 


scientific method of voting than the barbaric 
devices used for electing representatives to Con- 
gress or the British Parliament, devices that play 
directly into the hands of the party organizer who 
trades upon the defects of political method. 

Will this council be directly elected! That, I 
think, may be found to be essential. And upon 
a very broad franchise. Because, firstly, it is 
before all things important that every adult in the 
world should feel a direct and personal contact 
between himself and the World State, and that he 
is an assenting and participating citizen of the 
world; and secondly, because if your Council is 
appointed by any intermediate body, all sorts of 
local and national considerations, essential in the 
business of the subordinate body, will get in the 
way of a simple and direct regard for the world 

And as to this council: Will it have great 
debates and wonderful scenes and crises and so 
forth the sort of thing that looks well in a large 
historical painting? There again we may be easily 
misled by analogy. One consideration that bars 
the way to anything of that sort is that its mem- 
bers will have no common language which they 
will be all able to speak with the facility necessary 
for eloquence. Eloquence is far more adapted to 
the conditions of a Bed Indian pow-wow than to 
the ordering of large and complicated affairs. 
The World Council may be a very taciturn assem- 
bly. It may even meet infrequently. Its members 
may communicate their views largely by notes 


which may have to be very clear and explicit, 
"because they will have to stand translation, and 
short to escape neglect. 

And what will be the chief organs and organiza- 
tions and works and methods with which this 
Conncil of the World State will be concerned? 

There will be a Supreme Court determining 
not International Law, but World Law. There 
will be a growing Code of World Law. 

There will be a world currency. 

There will be a ministry of posts, transport and 
communications generally. 

There will be a ministry of trade in staple pro- 
ducts and for the conservation and development 
of the natural resources of the earth. 

There will be a ministry of social and labour 

There will be a ministry of world health. 

There will be a ministry, the most important 
ministry of all, watching and supplementing 
national educational work and taking up the qare 
and stimulation of backward communities. 

And instead of a War Office and Naval and 
Military departments, there will be a Peace 
Ministry studying the belligerent possibilities of 
every new invention, watching for armed disturb- 
ances everywhere, and having complete control of 
every armed force that remains in the world. All 
these world ministries will be working in co- 
operation with local authorities who will apply 
world-wide general principles to local conditions. 

These items probably comprehend everything 


that the government of a World State would have 
to do. Much of its activity would be merely the 
co-ordination and adjustment of activities already 
very thoroughly discussed and prepared for it by 
local and national discussions. I think it will be 
a mistake for us to assume that the work of a 
world government will be vaster and more complex 
than that of such governments as those of the 
United States or the British Empire. In many 
respects it will have an enormously simplified task.. 
There will be no foreign enemy, no foreign com- 
petition, no tariffs, so far as it is concerned, or 
tariff wars. It will be keeping order ; it will not 
be carrying on a contest. There will be no neces- 
sity for secrecy; it will not be necessary to have 
a Cabinet plotting and planning behind closed 
doors; there will be no general policy except a 
steady attention to the common welfare. Even 
the primary origin of a World Council must neces- 
sarily be different from that of any national gov- 
ernment. Every existing government owes its 
beginnings to force and is in its fundamental 
nature militant. It is an offensive-defensive 
organ. This fact saturates our legal and social 
tradition more than one realizes at first. There is, 
about civil law everywhere, a faint flavour of a 
relaxed state of siege. But a world government 
will arise out of different motives and realize a 
different ideal. It will be primarily an organ for 
keeping the peace. 

And now perhaps we may look at this project 
of a World State mirrored in the circumstances of 


the life of one individual citizen. Let ns consider 
very briefly the life of an ordinary young man 
living in a World State and consider how it would 
differ from a commonplace life to-day. 

He will have been born in some one of the 
United States of the World in New York or 
California or Ontario or New Zealand or Portu- 
gal or France or Bengal or Shan-si; but wherever 
his lot may fall, the first history he will learn will 
be the wonderful history of mankind, from its 
nearly animal beginnings, a few score thousand 
years ago, with no tools, but implements of chipped 
stone and hacked wood, up to the power and 
knowledge of our own time. His education will 
trace for him the beginnings of speech, of writing, 
of cultivation and settlement. 

He will learn of the peoples and nations of the 
past, and how each one has brought its peculiar 
gifts and its distinctive contribution to the accu- 
mulating inheritance of our race. 

He will know, perhaps, less of wars, battles, 
conquests, massacres, kings and the like unpleas- 
ant invasions of human dignity and welfare, and 
he will know more of explorers, discoverers and 
stout outspoken men than our contemporary citi- 

While he is still a little boy, he will have the 
great outlines of the human adventure brought 
home to his mind by all sorts of vivid methods of 
presentation, such as the poor poverty-struck 
schools of our own time cannot dream of 


And on this broad foundation he will build up 
his knowledge of his own particular state and 
nation and people, learning not tales of ancient 
grievances and triumphs and revenges, but what 
his particular race and countryside have given 
and what it gives and may be expected to give to 
the common welfare of the world. On such foun- 
dations his social consciousness will be built. 

He will learn an outline of all that mankind 
knows and of the fascinating realms of half knowl- 
edge in which man is still struggling to know* 
His curiosity and his imagination will be roused 
and developed. 

He will probably be educated continuously at 
least until he is eighteen or nineteen, and perhaps 
until he is two or three and twenty. For a world 
that wastes none of its resources upon armaments 
or soldiering, and which produces whatever it 
wants in the regions best adapted to that pro- 
duction, and delivers them to the consumer by 
the directest route, will be rich enough not only 
to spare the first quarter of everybody's life for 
education entirely, but to keep on with some edu- 
cation throughout the whole lifetime. 

Of course the school to which our young citizen 
of the world will go will be very different from 
the rough and tumble schools of to-day, under- 
staffed with underpaid assistants, and having bare 
walls. It will have benefited by some of the in- 
telligence and wealth we lavish to-day on range- 
finders and submarines. 

Even a village school will be in a beautiful little 


building costing as much perhaps as a big naval 
srun or a bombing-aeroplane costs to-day. I know 
tills will sound like shocking extravagance to many 
contemporary hearers, but in the World State the 
standards will be different. 

I don't know whether any of us really grasp 
what we are saying when we talk of greater educa- 
tional efficiency in the future. That means if it 
means anything teaching more with much less 
trouble. It will mean, for instance, that most 
people will have three or four languages properly 
learnt; that they will think about things mathe- 
matical with a quickness and clearness that puz- 
zles us ; that about all sorts of things their minds 
will move in daylight where ours move in a haze 
of ignorance or in an emotional fog. 

This clear-headed, broad-thinking young citizen 
of the World State will not be given up after his 
educational years to a life of toil there will be 
very little toil left in the world. Mankind will have 
machines and power enough to do most of the toil 
for it. Why, between 1914 and 1918 we blew away 
enough energy and destroyed enough machinery 
and turned enough good grey matter into stinking 
filth to release hundreds of millions of toilers from 
toil for ever I 

Our young citizen will choose some sort of 
interesting work perhaps creative work. And 
he will be free to travel about the whole world 
without a passport or visa > without a change of 
money; everywhere will be his country; he will 
find people everywhere who will be endlessly dif- 


ferent, but none suspicions or hostile. Every- 
where he will find beautiful and distinctive cities, 
freely expressive of the spirit of the land in 
which they have arisen. Strange and yet friendly 

The world will be a far healthier place than it 
is now for mankind as a whole will still carry on 
organized wars no longer wars of men against 
men, but of men against malarias and diseases and 
infections. Probably he will never know what a 
cold is, or a headache. He will be able to go 
through the great forests of the tropics without 
shivering with fever and without saturating him- 
self with preventive drugs. He will go freely 
among great mountains ; he will fly to the Poles of 
the earth if he chooses, and dive into the cold, 
now hidden, deep places of the sea. 

But it is very difficult to fill in the picture of 
his adult life so that it will seem real to our ex- 
perience. It is hard to conceive and still more 
difficult to convey. "We live in this congested, 
bickering, elbowing, shoving world, and it has 
soaked into our natures and made us a part of 
itself. Hardly any of us know what it is to be 
properly educated, and hardly any what it is to be 
in constant general good health. 

To talk of what the world may be to most of 
us is like talking of baths and leisure and happy 
things to some poor hopeless, gin-soaked drudge in 
a slum. The creature is so devitalized; the dirt is 
so ingrained, so much a second nature, that a bath 
really isn't attractive. Clean and beautiful 


clothes sound lite a mockery or priggishness. To 
talk of spacious and beautiful places only arouses 
a violent desire in the poor thing to get away 
somewhere and hide. In squalor and misery, quar- 
relling and fighting make a sort of nervous relief. 
To multitudes of slum-bred people the prospect of 
no more fighting is a disagreeable prospect, a dull 

Well, all this world of ours may seem a slum to 
the people of a happier age. They will feel about 
our world just as we feel about the ninth or tenth 
century, when we read of its brigands and its 
insecurities, its pestilences, its miserable housing, 
its abstinence from ablutions. 

But our young citizen will not have been 
inured to our base world. He will have little of 
our ingrained dirt in his mind and heart. He 
will love. He will love beautifully. As most of us 
once hoped to do in our more romantic moments. 
He will have ambitions for the World State will 
give great scope to ambition. He will work skil- 
fully and brilliantly, or he will administer public 
services, or he will be an able teacher, or a mental 
or physical physician, or he will be an interpre- 
tative or creative artist; he may be a writer or a 
scientific investigator, lie may be a statesman in 
his state, or even a world statesman. If he is a 
statesman he may be going up perhaps to the 
federal world congress. In the year 2020 there 
will still be politics, but they will be great politics. 
Instead of the world's affairs being managed in a 
score of foreign offices, all scheming meanly and 


cunningly against each other, all plajming to 
thwart and injure each other, they will be managed 
under the direction of an educated and organized 
common intelligence intent only upon the common 

Dear! Dear! Dear! Does it sound like rubbish 
to you? I suppose it does. You think I am 
talking of a dreamland, of an unattainable Utopia? 
Perhaps I am! This dear, jolly old world of dirt, 
war, bankruptcy, murder and malice, thwarted 
lives, wasted lives, tormented lives, general ill 
health and a social decadence that spreads and 
deepens towards a universal smash how can we 
hope to turn it back from its course? How prig- 
gish and impracticable! How impertinent! How 
preposterous! I seem to hear a distant hoot- 
ing. . , . 

Sometimes it seems to me that the barriers that 
separate man and man are nearly insurmount- 
able and invincible, that we who talk of a World 
State now are only the pioneers of a vast uphill 
struggle in the minds and hearts of men that may 
need to be waged for centuries that may fail in 
the end. 

Sometimes again, in other moods, It seems to 
me that these barriers and nationalities and sep- 
arations are so illogical, so much a matter of tra- 
dition, so plainly mischievous and cruel, that at 
any time we may find the common sense of our 
race dissolving them away. . . . 

Who can see into that darkest of all mysteries, 
the hearts and wills of mankind f It may be that 


It Is well for TIS not to know of the many genera- 
tions who will have to sustain this conflict. 

Yes ? that is one mood, and there is the other. 
Perhaps we fear too much. Even hefore our lives 
run out -we may feel the dawn of a greater age 
perceptible among the black shadows and artificial 
glares of these unhappy years. 



IN- my next two papers I am going- to discuss and 
what shall I say I experiment with an old but 
neglected idea, an idea that was first broached I 
believe about the time when the State of Con- 
necticut was coming into existence and while New 
York was still the Dutch City of New Amsterdam. 

The man who propounded this idea was a certain 
great Bohemian, Komensky, who is perhaps better 
known in our western world by his Latinized name 
Comenius. He professed himself the pupil of 
Bacon. He was the friend of Milton. He travelled 
from one European country to another with his 
political and educational ideas. For a time he 
thought of coming to America. It is a great pity 
that he never came. And his idea, the particular 
idea of his we are going to discuss, was the idea of 
a common book, a book of history, science and 
wisdom, which should form the basis and frame- 
work for the thoughts and imaginations of every 
citizen in the world. 



In many ways the thinkers and writers of the 
early seventeenth century seem more akin to us 
and more sympathetic with the world of to-day, 
than any intervening group of literary figures. 
They strike us as having a longer vision than the 
men of the eighteenth century, and as being bolder 
and, how shall I put it? more desperate in their 
thinking than the nineteenth century minds. And 
this closer affinity to our own time arises, I should 
think, directly and naturally, out of the closer re- 
semblance of their circumstances. Between 1640 
and 1650, just as in our present age, the world was 
tremendously unsettled and distressed. A century 
and more of expansion and prosperity had given 
place to a phase of conflict, exhaustion, and entire 
political unsettlement. Britain was involved in 
the bitter political struggle that culminated in the 
execution of King Charles I. Ireland was a land 
of massacre and counter-massacre. The Thirty 
Years' War in Central Europe was in its closing, 
most dreadful stages of famine and plunder. In 
France the crown and the nobles were striving 
desperately for ascendancy in the War of the 
Fronde. The Turk threatened Vienna. Nowhere 
in Western Europe did there remain any secure 
and settled political arrangements. Everywhere 
there was disorder, everywhere it seemed that 
anything might happen, and it is just those dis- 
ordered and indeterminate times that are most 
fruitful of bold religious and social and political 
and educational speculations and initiatives. 

This was the period that produced the Quakers 


and a number of the most vigorous developments 
of Puritanism, in which the foundations of modern 
republicanism were laid, and in which the project 
of a world league of nations or rather of a world 
state received wide attention. And the student 
of Comenius will find in him an active and sensitive 
mind responding with a most interesting similar- 
ity to our own responses, to the similar conditions 
of his time. He has been distressed and dismayed 
as most of us have been distressed and dismayed 
by a rapid development of violence, by a great 
release of cruelty and suffering in human affairs. 
He felt none of the security that was felt in the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries of the cer- 
tainty of progress. He realized as we do that the 
outlook for humanity is a very dark and uncer- 
tain one unless human effort is stimulated and 
organized. He traced the evils of his time to 
human discords and divisions, to our political di- 
visions, and the mutual misconceptions due to our 
diversity of languages and leading ideas. In all 
that he might be writing and thinking in 1921. 
And his proposed remedies find an echo in a 
number of our contemporary movements. He 
wanted to bring all nations to form one single 
state. He wanted to have a universal language 
as the common medium of instruction and discus- 
sion, and he wanted to create a common Book of 
Necessary Knowledge, a sort of common basis of 
wisdom, for all educated men in the world. 

Now this last is the idea I would like to de- 
velop now. I would like to discuss whether our 


education which nowadays in our modern states 
reaches everyone whether our education can in- 
clude and ought to include such a Book of Neces- 
sary Knowledge and "Wisdom; and (having 
attempted to answer that enquiry in the affirma- 
tive) I shall then attempt a sketch of such a book. 

But to begin with perhaps I may meet an ob- 
jection that is likely to arise. I have called this 
hypothetical book of ours the Bible of Civilization, 
and it may be that someone will say: Yes, but 
you have a sufficient book of that sort already; 
you have the Bible itself and that is all you need. 
Well, I am taking the Bible as my model. I am 
taking it because twice in history first as the Old 
Testament and then again as the Old and New 
Testament together it has formed a culture, and 
unified and kept together through many genera- 
tions great masses of people. It has been the 
basis of the Jewish and Christian civilizations 
alike. And even in, the New World the State of 
Connecticut did, I believe, in its earliest begin- 
nings take the Bible as its only law. Nevertheless, 
1 hope I shall not offend any reader, if I point 
out that the Bible is not all that we need 
to-day, and that also in some respects it is re- 
dundant. Its very virtues created its 
It served men so well that they made a Canon 
of it and refused to alter it further. Throughout 
the most vital phases of Hebrew history, through- 
out the most living years of Christian development 
the Bible changed and grew. Then its growth 
ceased and its text became fixed. But the world 


went on growing and discovering new needs and 
new necessities. 

Let me deal first with its redundancy. So far 
as redundancy goes, a great deal of the Book of 
Leviticus, for example, seems not vitally necessary 
for the ordinary citizen of to-day; there are long 
explicit directions for temple worship and sacri- 
ficial procedure. There is again, so far as the 
latter day citizen is concerned, an excess of in- 
formation about the minor Kings of Israel and 
Judah. And there is more light than most of us 
feel we require nowadays upon the foreign policies 
of Assyria and Egypt. It stirs our pulses feebly, 
it helps us only very indirectly to learn that Attai 
begat Nathan and Nathan begat Zabad, or that 
Obed begat Jehu and Jehu begat Azariah, and 
so on for two or three hundred verses. 

And so far as deficiencies go, there is a great 
multitude of modern problems problems that 
enter intimately into the moral life of all of us, 
with which the Bible does not deal, the establish- 
ment of American Independence, for example, and 
the age-long feud of Russia and Poland that has 
gone on with varying fortunes for four centuries. 
That is much more important to our modern world 
than the ancient conflict of Assyria and Egypt 
which plays so large a part in the old Bible record. 
And there are all sorts of moral problems arising 
out of modern conditions on which the Bible sheds 
little or no direct light; the duties of a citizen at 
an election, or the duties of a shareholder to the 
labour employed by his company, for example. 


For these things we need at least a supplement, if 
we are still to keep our community upon one gen- 
eral basis of understanding, upon one unifying 
standard of thought and behaviour. 

"We are so brought up upon the Bible, we are so 
used to it long before we begin to think hard about 
it, that all sorts of things that are really very 
striking about it, the facts that the history of 
Judah and Israel is told twice over and that the 
gospel narrative is repeated four times over for 
example, do not seem at all odd to us. How else, 
we ask, eould you have it! Yet these are very odd 
features if we are to regard the Bible as the 
cpmpactest and most perfect statement of essen- 
tial truth and wisdom. 

And still more remarkable, it seems to me, 
is it that the Bible breaks off. One could under- 
stand very well if the Bible broke off with the 
foundation of Christianity. Now this event has 
happened, it might say, nothing else matters. It 
is the culmination. But the Bible does not do 
that. It goes on to a fairly detailed account of 
the beginnings and early politics of the Christian 
Church. It gives the opening literature of theo- 
logical exposition. And then, with that strange 
and doubtful book, the Bevelation of St. John the 
Divine, it comes to an end. As I say, it leaves off. 
It leaves off in the middle of Eoman imperial and 
social conflicts. But the world has gone on and 
goes on elaborating its problems, encountering 
fresh problems until now there is a gulf of up- 
wards of eighteen hundred years between us and 


the concluding expression of the thought of that 
ancient time. 

I make these observations in no spirit of de- 
traction. If anything, these peculiarities of the 
Bible add to the wonder of its influence over the 
lives and minds of men. It has been The Book 
that has held together the fabric of western civili- 
zation.^ It has been the handbook of life to count- 
less millions of men and women. The civilization 
we possess could not have eome into existence and 
could not have been sustained without it. It has 
explained the world to the mass of our people, and 
it has given them moral standards and a form 
into which their consciences could work. But does 
it do that to-day? Frankly, I do not think it does. 
I think that during the last century the Bible has 
lost much of its former hold. It no longer grips 
the community. And I think it has lost hold be- 
cause of those sundering eighteen centuries, ~to 
which every fresh year adds itself, because of 
profound changes in the methods and mechanisms 
of life, and because of the vast extension of our 
ideas by the development of science in the last 
century or so. 

It has lost hold, but nothing has arisen to take 
its place. That is the gravest aspect of this mat- 
ter. It was the cement with which our western 
communities were built and by which they were 
held together. And the weathering of these cen- 
turies and the adds of these later years have eaten 
into its social and personal influence. It is no 
longer a sufficient cement. And this is the es- 


sence of what I am driving at our modern com- 
munities are no longer cemented, they lack organ- 
ized solidarity, they are not prepared to stand 
shocks and strains, they have become dangerously 
loose mentally and morally. That, I believe, is 
the clue to a great proportion of the present social 
and political troubles of the world. We need to 
get back to a cement. We want a Bible. We want 
a Bible so badly that we cannot ^afford toput the 
old Bible on a pinnacle out of daily use. We want 
it re-adapted for use. If it is true that the old 
Bible falls short in its history and does not apply 
closely to many modern problems, then we need 
a revised and enlarged Bible in our schools and 
homes to restore a common ground of ideas and 
interpretations if our civilization is to hold to- 

Now let us see what the Bible gave a man in 
the days when it could really grip and hold and 
contain him; and let us ask if it is impossible to 
restore and reconstruct a Bible for the needs of 
these great and dangerous days in which we are 
living. Can we re-cement our increasingly tin- 
stable civilization? I will not ask now whether 
there is still time left for us to do anything of 
the sort. 

The first thing the Bible gave a man was a Cos- 
mogony. It gave him an account of the world in 
which he found himself and of his place in it. And 
then it went on to a general history of mankind. It 
did not tell him that history as a string of facts 
and dates, but as a moving and interesting story 


into which he himself finally came, a story of 
promises made and destinies to be fulfilled. It 
gave him a dramatic relationship to the schemes 
of things. It linked him to all mankind with a 
conception of relationships and duties- It gave 
him a place in the world and put a meaning into 
his life. It explained him to himself and to other 
people, and it explained other people to him. In 
other words, out of the individual it made a citizen 
with a code of duties and expectations. 

Now I take it that both from the point of 
view of individual happiness and from the point 
of view of the general welfare, this development 
of the citizenship of a man, this placing of a man 
in his own world, is of primary importance. It is 
the necessary basis of all right education; it is 
the fundamental purpose of the school, and I do 
not believe an individual can be happy or a com- 
munity be prosperous without it. The Bible and 
the religions based on it, gave that idea of a place 
in the world to the people it taught. But do we 
provide that idea of a place in the world for our 
people to-day! I suggest that we do not. We 
do not give them a clear vision of the universe 
in which they live, and we do not give them a 
history that invests their lives with meaning and 

The cosmogony of the Bible has lost grip and 
conviction upon men's minds, and the ever-widen- 
ing gulf of years makes its history and its political 
teaching more and more remote and unhelpful 
amidst the great needs of to-day. Nothing has 


been done to fill up these widening gaps. We 
have so great a respect for tlie letter of the Bible 
that we ignore its spirit and its proper use. We 
do not rewrite and retell Genesis in the light and 
language of modern knowledge, and we do not 
revise and bring its history up to date and so apply 
it to the problems of our own. time. So we have 
allowed the Bible to become antiquated and re- 
mote, venerable and unhelpful. 

There has been a great extension of what we call 
education in the past hundred years, but while we 
have spread education widely, there has been a 
sort of shrinkage and enfeeblement of its aims. 
Education in the past set out to make a Christian 
and a citizen and afterwards a gentleman out of 
the crude, vulgar, self-seeking individual. Does 
education even pretend to do as much to-day? It 
does nothing of the sort. Our young people are 
taught to read and write. They are taught book- 
keeping and languages that are likely to be useful 
to, them. They are given a certain measure of 
technical education, and they are taught to shove. 
And then we turn them out into the world to get 
on. Our test of a college education is Does it 
make a successful business man? 

Well, this, I take it, is the absolute degradation 
of education. It is a modern error that education 
exists for the individual. Education exists for 
the community and the race ; it exists to subdue the 
individual for the good of the world and his own 
ultimate happiness. 

But we have been letting the essentials of educa- 


tiqn slip back into a secondary place in onr pur- 
suit of mere equipment, and we see the results 
to-day throughout all the modern states of the 
world, in a loss of cohesion, discipline and co- 
operation. Men will not co-operate except to raise 
prices on the consumer or wages on the employer, 
and everyone scrambles for a front place and a 
good time. And they do so, partly no doubt by 
virtue of an ineradicable factor in them known as 
Original Sin, but also very largely because the 
vision of life that was built up in their minds at 
school and in their homes was fragmentary and 
uninspiring; it had no commanding appeal for 
their imaginations, and no imperatives for their 

So I put it, that for the opening books of our 
Bible of Civilization, our Bible translated into 
terms of modern knowledge, and as the basis of 
all our culture, we shall follow the old Bible pre- 
cedent exactly. We shall tell to every citizen of 
our community, as plainly, simply and beautifully 
as we can, the New Story of Genesis, the tremen- 
dous spectacle of the Universe that science has 
opened to us, the flaming beginnings of our world, 
the vast ages of its making and the astounding 
unfolding, age after a v e, of Life. We shall tell of 
the changing climates of this spinning globe and 
the coming and going of great floras and faunas, 
mighty races of living things, until out of the 
vast, slow process our own kind emerged. And 
we shall tell the story of our race. How through 
hundreds of thousands of years it won power 


nature, hunted and presently sowed and reaped. 
How it learnt the secrets of the metals, mastered 
the riddle of the seasons, and took to the seas. 
That story of our common inheritance and of our 
slow upward struggle has to be taught throughout 
our entire community, in the city slums and in the 
out-of-the-way farmsteads most of all. By teach- 
ing it, we restore again to our people the lost basis 
of a community, a common idea of their place in 
space and time. 

Then, still following the Bible precedent, we 
must tell a universal history of man. And though 
on the surface it may seem to be a very different 
history from the Bible story, in substance it will 
really be very* much the same history, only robbed 
of ancient trappings and symbols, and made real 
and fresh again for our present ideas. It will still 
be a story of conditional promises, the promises of 
human possibility, a record of sins and blunders 
and lost opportunities, of men who walked not in 
the ways of righteousness, of stiff-necked genera- 
tions, and of merciful renewals of hope. It will 
still point our lives to a common future which will 
be the reward and judgment of our present lives. 

You may say that no such book exists which is 
perfectly true and that no such book could be 
written. But there I think you underrate the 
capacity of our English-speaking people. It would 
be quite possible to get together a committee that 
would give us the compact and clear cosmogony 
of history that is needed. Some of the greatest, 
most inspiring books and documents in the world 


have been produced by Committees: Magna Carta, 
the Declaration of Independence, the English. 
Translation of the Bible, and the Prayer Book of 
the English Church are all the productions of com- 
mittees, and they are all fine and inspiring com- 
pilations. For the last three years I have been ex- 
perimenting with this particular task, and, with 
the help of six other people, I have sketched out 
and published an outline of our world's origins 
and history to show the sort of thing I mean. 
That Outline is, of course, a corrupting mass of 
faults and minor inaccuracies, but it does demon- 
strate the possibility of doing what is required. 
And its reception both in America and England 
has shown how ready, how greedy many people 
are, on account of themselves and on account of 
their children, for an ordered general account of 
the existing knowledge of our place in space and 
time. For want of anything better they have 
taken my Outline very eagerly. Far more eagerly 
would they have taken a finer, sounder and more 
authoritative work 

Tn England this Outline was almost the first 
experiment of the kind that has been made the 
only other I know of in England, was a very 
compact General History of the World by Mr. 
Oscar Browning published in 1913. But there are 
several educationists in America who have been 
at work on the same task. In this matter of a 
more generalized history teaching, the New World 
is decidedly leading the Old. The particular prob- 


lems of a population of "mixed origins have forced 
it upon teachers in the United States. 

My friend I am very happy to be able to call 
my friend Professor Breasted, in conjunc- 
tion with that very able teacher Professor 
Epbinson, has produced two books, "Ancient 
Times " and " Mediaeval and Modern Times, " 
which together make a very complete history of 
civilized man. They do not, however, give a his- 
tory of life before man, nor very much of human 
pre-history. Another admirable American sum- 
mary of history is Doctor Hutton Webster's "His- 
tory of the Ancient World " together with his 
"Mediaeval and Modern History. " This again is 
very sparing of the story of primitive man. 

But the work of these gentlemen confirms my 
own. experience that it is quite possible to tell in 
a comprehensible and inspiring outline the whole 
history of life and mankind in the compass of a 
couple of manageable volumes. Neither Browning 
nor Breasted and Robinson, nor Hutton Webster, 
nor my own effort are very much longer than 
twice the length of Dickens' novel of "Bleak 
House. " So there you have it. There is the thing 
shown to be possible. If it is possible for us 
isolated workers to do as much, then why should 
not the thing be done in a big and authoritative 
manner? "Why should we not nave a great educa- 
tional conference of teachers, scientific men and 
historians from all the civilized peoples of the 
world, and why should they not draft out a stand- 
ard World History for general use in the world's 


schools ? Why should that draft not be revised by 
scores of specialists? Discussed and re-discussed f 
Polished and finished, and made the opening part 
of a new Bible of Civilization, a new common 
basis for a world culture? 

At intervals it would need to be revised,, and it 
could be revised and brought up to date in the 
same manner. 

Now such a book and such a book alone would 
put the people of the world upon an absolutely new 
footing with regard to social and international 
affairs. They would be told a history coming 
right up to the Daily Newspaper. They would 
see themselves and the news of to-day as part of 
one great development. It would give their lives 
significance and dignity. It would give the events 
of the current day significance and dignity. It 
would lift their imaginations up to a new level. 
I say lift, but I mean restore their imaginations 
to a former level. Because if you look back into 
the lives of the Pilgrim Fathers, let us say, or into 
those of the great soldiers and statesmen of Crom- 
wellian England, you will find that these men 
had a sense of personal significance, a sense of 
destiny, such as no one in politics or literature 
seems to possess to-day. They were still in touch 
with the old Bible. To-day if life seems adventur- 
ous and fragmentary and generally aimless it is 
largely because of this one thing. We have lost 
touch with history. We have ceased to see human 
affairs as one great epic unfolding. And only by 


the universal teaching of Universal History can 
that epic quality be restored. 

You see then the first part of my project for a 
Bible of Civilization, a rewriting of Genesis and 
Exodus and Judges and Chronicles in terms of 
World History, It would be a quite possible thing 
to do. ... 

Is it worth doing? 

And let me add here that when we do get our 
New Genesis and our new historical books, they 
will have a great number of illustrations as a liv- 
ing and necessary part of them. For nowadays 
we can not only have a canonical text, but canon- 
ical maps and illustrations. The old Hebrew Bible 
was merely the written word. Indeed it was not 
even that, for it was written without vowels. That 
was not a merit, nor a precedent for us ; it was 
an unavoidable limitation in those days; but under 
modern conditions there is no reason whatever 
why we should confine our Bible to words when 
a drawing or a map can better express the thing 
we wish to convey. It is one of the great ad- 
vantages of the modern book over the ancient 
book that because of printing it can use pictures as 
well as words. When books had to be reproduced 
by copyists the use of pictures was impossible. 
They would have varied with each copying until 
they became hopelessly distorted. , . . 


But the cosmological and historical part of the 
old Bible was merely the opening, the ground- 
work upon which the rest was built. Let us now, 
consider what else the Bible gave a man and a 
community, and what would be the modern form 
of the things it gave. 

The next thing in order that the Bible gave a 
man and the community to which he belonged, was 
the Law. Rules of Life. Rules of Health. Pre- 
scriptions often very detailed and intimate of 
permissible and unpermissible conduct. This also 
the modern citizen needs and should have : he and 
she need a book of personal wisdom. 

First as to Health. One of the first duties of 
a citizen is to keep himself in mental and bodily 
health in order to be fit for the rest of his duties. 
Now the real Bible, our model, is extremely ex- 
plicit upon a number of points, upon what con- 
stitutes cleanness or uncleanness, upon ablutions, 
upon what a man or woman may eat and what may 
not be eaten, upon a number of such points. It 
was for its times and circumstances a directory of 
healthy practice. Well, I do not see why the 
Bible of a Modern Civilization should not contain 
a book of similarly clear injunctions and warnings 



why we should not tell every one of our people 
what Is to be known about self -care. 

And closely connected with the care of one's 
mental and bodily health is sexual morality, upon 
which, again Deuteronomy and Leviticus are most 
explicit, leaving very little to the imagination. I 
am all for imitating the wholesome frankness of 
the ancient book. Where there are no dark cor- 
ners there is very little fermentation, there is very 
little foulness or infection. But in nearly every 
detail and in method and manner, the Bible of 
our Civilization needs to be fuller and different 
from its prototype upon these matters. The real 
Bible dealt with an oriental population living 
under much cruder conditions than our own, en- 
gaged mainly in agriculture, and with a far less 
varied dietary than ours. They had fermented 
but not distilled liquors; they had no preserved 
nor refrigerated foods; they married at adoles- 
cence; many grave diseases that prevail to-day 
were unknown to them, and their sanitary prob- 
lems were entirely different. Generally our New 
Leviticus will have to be much fuller. It must 
deal with exercise which came naturally to those 
Hebrew shepherds. It must deal with the preser- 
vation of energy under conditions of enervation of 
which the prophets knew nothing. On the other 
hand our New Leviticus can afford to give much 
less attention to leprosy which almost dominates 
the health instructions of the ancient law-giver. 

I do not know anything very much about the 
movements in America that aim at the improve- 


ment of the public health and at the removal of 
public ignorance upon vital things. In Britain 
we have a number of powerful organizations ac- 
tive in disseminating knowledge to counteract the 
spread of this or that infectious or contagious dis- 
ease. The War has made us in Europe much more 
outspoken and fearless in dealing with lurking 
hideous evils. We believe much more than we did 
in the curative value of light and knowledge. And 
we have a very considerable literature of books on 
what shall I call it? on Sex Wisdom, which aim 
to prevent some of that great volume of misery, 
deprivation and nervous disease due to the pre- 
vailing ignorance and secrecy in these matters. 
For in these matters great multitudes of modern 
people still live in an ignorance that would have 
been inconceivable to an ancient Hebrew. In Eng- 
land now the books of such a writer as Dr. Marie 
Stopes are enormously read, and though they are 
by no means perfect works dp much to mitigate 
the hidden disappointments, discontents, stresses 
and cruelties of married life. Now I believe that 
it would be possible to compile a modern Leviticus 
and Deuteronomy to tell our whole modern com- 
munity decently and plainly just as plainly as the 
old Hebrew Bible instructed its Hebrew popula- 
tion what was to be known and what had to be 
done, and what had not to be done in these inti- 
mate matters. 

But Health and Sex do not exhaust the prob- 
lems of conduct. There are also the problems of 
Property and Trade and Labour. Upon these 


also the old Bible did not hesitate to be explicit. 
For example, it insisted meticulously upon the 
right of labour to glean and upon the seller giving 
a "full measure brimming over," and it prohibited 
usury. But here again the Bible is extraordinarily 
unhelpful when we come to modern issues, because 
its rules and regulations were framed for a com- 
munity and for an economic system altogether 
cruder, more limited and less complicated than our 
own. Much of the Old Testament we have to 
remember was already in existence before the free 
use of coined metal. The vast credit system of 
our days, joint-stock company enterprise and the 
like, were beyond the imagination of that time. So 
too was any anticipation of modern industrialism. 
And accordingly we live to-day in a world in which 
neither property nor employment have ever been 
properly moralized. The bulk of our present 
social and economic troubles is due very largely 
to that. 

In no matter is this muddled civilization of ours 
more hopelessly at sixes and sevens than in this 
matter of the rights and duties of property. Mani- 
festly property is a trust for the community vary- 
ing in its responsibilities with the nature of the 
property. The property one has in one's tooth- 
brush is different from the property one has in ten 
thousand acres of land ; the property one has in a 
photograph of a friend is different from the prop- 
erty one has in some irreplaceable masterpiece of 
portraiture. The former one may destroy with 


a good conscience, "but not the latter. At least 
so it seems to me. 

But opinions vary enormously on these matters 
because we have never really worked them out. 
On the one hand, in this matter of property, we 
have the extreme individualist who declares that a 
man has an unlimited right to do what he likes 
with Ms own so that a man who owns a coal mine 
may just burn it out to please himself or spite the 
world, or raise the price of coal generally and on 
the other hand we have the extreme communist 
who denies all property and in practice so far as 
I can understand ^his practice goes on the prin- 
ciple that everything belongs to somebody else or 
that one is entitled to exercise proprietary rights 
over everything that does not "belong to oneself. 
(I confess that communistic practice is a little 
difficult to formulate.) Between these extremists 
you can find every variety of idea about what one 
may do and about what one may not do with money 
and credit and property generally. Is it an offence 
to gamble? Is it an offence to speculate! Is it an 
offence to hold fertile fields and not cultivate 
them? Is it an offence to hold fertile fields and 
undereultivate them? Is it an offence to use your 
invested money merely to live pleasantly without 
working? Is it an offence to spend your money 
on yourself and refuse your wife more than bare 
necessities? Is it an offence to spend exorbitant 
sums that might otherwise go in reproductive in- 
vestments, to gratify the whims and vanities of 
your wife ? You will find different people answer- 


ing any of these questions -with Yes and No. But 
it cannot be both Yes and No. There must be a 
definable Eight or Wrong upon all these issnes. 

Almost all the labour trouble in the world 
springs directly from our lack of an effective de- 
tailed moral code about property. The freedom 
that is claimed for all sorts of property and exer- 
cised by all sorts of property to waste or with- 
hold is the clue to that savage resentment which 
flares out nowadays in every great labour conflict. 
Labour is a rebel because property is a libertine. 

Now this untilled field of conduct, this moral 
wilderness of the rights and duties and limitations 
of property, the Books of the Law in a modern 
Bible could clear up in the most lucid and satisfy- 
ing way. I want to get those parts of Deuteron- 
omy and Leviticus written again, more urgently 
than any other part of the modern Bible. I want 
to see it at work in the schools and in the law- 
courts. I admit that it would be a most difficult 
book to write and that we should raise controver- 
sial storms over every verse. But what an excel- 
lent thing to have it out, once for all, with some of 
these rankling problems ! "What an excellent thing 
if we could get together a choice group of repre- 
sentative men strictly rationed as to paper and 
get them to set down clearly and exactly just what 
classes of property they recognized and what limi- 
tations the community was entitled to impose upon 
-each sort. 

Every country In the world does impose limita- 
tions, la Italy you may not export an ancient 


work of art, although it is your own. In England 
you may not maltreat your own dog or cat. In 
the United States, I am told, you may not use 
your dollars to buy alcohol. Why should we not 
make all this classification of property and the 
restraints upon each class of property, systematic 
and world-wide? If we could so moralize the use 
of property, if we could arrive at a clear idea of 
just what use an owner could make of his machin- 
ery, or a financier could make of his credit, -would 
there be much left of the incessant labour conflicts 
of the present time? For if you will look into it, 
you will find there is hardly ever a labour conflict 
into which some unsettled question of principle, 
some unsettled question of the permissible use ^of 
property, does not enter as the final and essential 




ILN the preceding sections we have discussed 
Genesis and the Historical Books generally as 
they would appear in a modernized Bible, and 
we have dealt with the Law. But these are only 
the foundations and openings of the Bible as we 
know it. We come now to the Psalms and Prov- 
erbs, the Song of Songs, the Book of Job and 
the Prophets. What are the modern equivalents 
of these books? 

Well, what were they? 

They were the entire Hebrew literature down to 
about the time of Ezra ; they include sacred songs, 
love songs, a dramatic dialogue, a sort of novel 
in the Books of Ruth and Esther, and so forth. 
What would be our equivalent of this part of the 
Bible to-day f What would be the equivalent for 
the Bible of a World Civilization? 

I suppose that it would be the whole world liter- 



That, I admit, is a rather tremendous prop- 
osition. Are we to contemplate the prospect of 
a modern Bible in twenty or thirty thousand vol- 
ames? Such a vast Bible would defeat its own 
end. We want a Bible that everyone will know, 
which will be grasped by the mind of everyone. 
That is essential to our idea of a Bible as a social 

Fortunately, our model Bible, as we have it 
to-day, gives us a lead in this matter. Its contents 
are classified. "We have first of all the canonical 
books, which are treated as the vitally important 
books;, they are the books, to quote the phrase 
used in the English prayer book, which are 
"necessary to salvation. " And then we have a 
collection of other books, the Apocrypha, the 
books set aside, books often admirable and beauti- 
ful, but not essential, good to be read for "ex- 
ample of life and instruction of manners," yet 
books that everyone need not read and know. Let 
us take this lead and let us ask whether we can 
with the whole accumulated literature of the world 
as our material select a bookful or so of matter, 
of such exceptional value that it would be well for 
all mankind to read it and know it. This will be 
our equivalent for the canonical books. I will 
return to that in a moment. 

And outside this canonical book or books, 
shall we leave all the rest of literature in a limit- 
less Apocrypha? I am doubtful about that. I 
would suggest that we make a second intermediate 
class between the canonical books that everyone 


in our civilization ought to read and the outer 
Apocrypha that you may read or not as you 
choose. This intermediate class I would call the 
Great Books of the World. It would not be a part 
of our Bible, but it would come next to our Bible. 
It would not be what one must read but only what 
it is desirable the people should read. 

Now this canonical literature we are discussing 
is to be the third vital part of our modern Bible. 
I conceive of it as something that would go into the 
hands of every man and woman in that coming 
great civilization which is the dream of our race. 
Together with the Book of World History and the 
Book of Law and Eighteousness and Wisdom that 
I have sketched out to you, and another Book of 
which I shall have something to say later, this 
Canonical Literature will constitute the intellec- 
tual and moral cement of the World Society, that 
intellectual and moral cement for the want of 
which our world falls into political and social con- 
fusion and disaster to-day. Upon such a basis, 
upon a common body of ideas, a common moral 
teaching and the world-wide assimilation of the 
same emotional and aesthetic material, it may still 
be possible to build up humanity into one co-opera- 
tive various and understanding community. 

Now if we bear this idea of a cementing func- 
tion firmly in -mind, we shall have a criterion by 
which to judge what shall be omitted from and 
what shall be included in the Books of Literature 
in this modern Bible of ours. We shall begin, of 
course, by levying toll upon the Old and New 


Testaments. I do not think I need justify that 
step. I snppose that there mil be no doubt v of the 
inclusion of many of the Psalms but I question if 
we should include them all and of a number of 
splendid passages from the Prophets. Should we 
include the Song of Songs f I am inclined to think 
that the compilers of a new Bible would hesitate at 
that. Should we include the Book of Job ? That I 
think would be a very difficult question indeed for 
our compilers. The Book of Job is a very wonder- 
ful and beautiful discussion of the profound prob- 
lem of evil in the world. It is a tremendous exer- 
cise to read and understand, but is it universally 
necessary? I am disposed to tHnk that the Book 
of Job, possibly with the illustrations of Blake, 
would not make a part of our Canon but would 
rank among our Great Books. It is a part of a 
very large Sterature of discussion, of which I shall 
have more to say in a moment. So too I question 
if we should make the story of Euth or the story 
of Esther fundamental teaching for our world 
civilization. Daniel, again, I imagine relegated to 
the Apocrypha. But to this I will return later. 

The story of the Gospels would, of course, have 
been incorporated in our Historical Book, but in 
addition as part of our first canon, each of the 
four gospels with, the possible omission of the 
genealogies would have a place, for the sake of 
their matchless directness, simplicity and beauty. 
They give a picture, they convey an atmosphere of 
supreme value to us all, incommunicable in any 
other form or language. Again there is a great 


wealth of material in the Epistles. It is, for 
example, inconceivable that such a passage as that 
of St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians "Though 
I speak with the tongues of men and angels and 
have not charity I am become as sonnding brass or 
a tinkling cymbal 77 the whole of that wonderfnl 
chapter should ever pass out of the common heri- 
tage of mankind. 

So mnch from the Ancient Bible for our modern 
Bible, all its inspiration and beauty and fire. And 
now what else! 

Speaking in English to an English-speaking 
audience one name comes close upon the Bible, 
Shakespeare. What are we going to do about 
Shakespeare? If you were to waylay almost any 
Englishman or American and put this project of 
a modern Bible before him, and then begin your 
list of ingredients with the Bible and the whole of 
Shakespeare, he would almost certainly say, " Yes, 

But would he be right? 

On reflection he might perhaps recede and say, 
"Not the whole of Shakespeare, " but well, "Ham- 
let/' "The Tempest," "Borneo and Juliet," "The 
Midsummer Night's Dream." But even these! 
Are they * 'generally necessary to salvation ' ' ? We 
run our minds through the treasures of Shakes- 
peare as we might run our fingers through the 
contents of a box of very precious and "beautiful 
jewels before equipping a youth for battle. 

No. These things are for ornament and joy. 
I doubt if we could have a single play a single 


scene of Shakespeare's in our Canon. He goes 
altogether into the Great Books, all of him; he 
joins the aristocracy of the Apocrypha, And, I be- 
lieve, nearly all the great plays of the world would 
have to join him there. Euripides and Sophocles, 
Schiller and Ibsen. Perhaps some speeches and 
snch-like passages might be quoted in the Canon, 
but that is all. 

Our Canon, remember, is to be the essential 
cementing stuff of our community and nothing 
more. If once we admit merely beautiful and de- 
lightful things, then I see an overwhelming inrush 
of jewels and flowers. If we admit, ^The Midsum- 
mer Night's Dream, " then I must insist that we 
also admit such lovely nonsense as 

In Xanadu did Knbla Khan 

A stately pleasure dome decree 
"Where Alph the sacred river ran 
Through caverns measureless to man 
Down to a sunless sea. . . . 

Our Canon I am afraid cannot take in such 
things, and with the plays we must banish also all 
the novels; the greater books of such writers as 
Cervantes, Defoe, Dickens, Fielding, Tolstoi, 
Hardy, Hainsun, that great succession of writers 
they are all good for "example of life and in- 
struction of manner s," and to the Apocrypha 
they must go. And so it is that since I would 
banish " Borneo and Juliet," I would also banish 
the Song of Songs, and since I must put away 
"Vanity Fair" and the "Shabby Genteel Story,' ' 


I would also put away Esther and Evtih. And I find 
myself most reluctant to exclude not any novels 
written in English, but one or two great sweeping 
books by non-English writers. It seems to me that 
Tolstoi's "War and Peace" and Hamsun's 
"Growth of the Soil" are books on an almost 
Biblical scale, that they deal with life so greatly as 
to come nearest to the idea of a universally in- 
spiring and illuminating literature which under- 
lies the idea of our Canon. If we put any whole 
novels into the Canon I would plead for these. 
But I will not plead now even for these. I do not 
think any novels at all can go into our modern 
Bible, as whole works. The possibility of long pas- 
sages going in is, of course, quite a different 

And passing now from great plays and great 
novels and romances, we come to the still more 
difficult problem of great philosophical and critical 
works. Take "Gulliver's Travels," an intense, 
dark, stirring criticism of life and social order 
and the "Dialogues of Plato/' full of light and in- 
spiration. In these latter we might quarry for 
beautiful passages for our Canon, but I do not 
think we could take them in as wholes, and if we 
do not take them in as complete books, then I think 
that Semitic parallel to these Greek dialogues, 
The Book of Job, must stand not in our Canon, but 
in the Great Book section of our Apocrypha. 

And next we have to consider all the great Epics 
in the world. There again I am for exclusion. This 
Bible we are considering must be universally 


available. If it is too bulky for universal nse it 
loses its primary function of a moral cement. "We 
cannot include the "Iliad," the Norse Sagas, the 
"^Eneid," or "Paradise Lost" in our Canon. Let 
them swell the great sack of our Apocrypha, and 
let the children read them if they will 

"When one glances in this fasHon over the ac- 
cumulated literary resources of mankind it be- 
comes plain that our canonical books of literature 
in this modern Bible of ours can be little more than 
an Anthology or a group of Anthologies. Per- 
haps they might be gathered under separate heads, 
as the "Book of Freedom," the "Book of Jus- 
tice," the "Book of Charity." And now having 
done nothing as yet but reject, let me begin to ac- 
cept. Let me quote a few samples of the kind of 
thing that I imagine would best serve the purpose 
of our Bible and that should certainly be included. 

Here are words that every American knows 
by heart already I would like every man in the 
world to know them by heart and to repeat them. 
It is Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and I will not 
spare you a word of it : 

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers 
brought forth on this continent a new nation, con- 
ceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposi- 
tion that all men are created equal. Now we are 
engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that 
nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedi- 
cated, can long endure. We are met on a great 
battlefield of that war. We have come to dedi- 


cate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place 
for those "who here gave their lives that that nation 
might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that 
we should do this. But in a larger sense, we can- 
not dedicate we cannot consecrate we cannot 
hallow this ground. The brave men, living and 
dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far 
above our poor power to add or detract. The 
world will little note, nor long remember what we 
say here, but it can never forget what they did 
here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedi- 
cated here to the unfinished work which they who 
fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It 
is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great 
task remaining before us that from these hon- 
ored dead we take increased devotion to that cause 
for which they gave the last full measure of de- 
votion. That we here highly resolve that these 
dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, 
under G-od, shall have a new birth of freedom 
and that Government of the people, by the people, 
for the people, shall not perish from the earth/' 

And here is something that might perhaps make 
another short chapter in the same Book of Free- 
dombut it deals with Freedom of a different 

Out of the night that covers me 
Black as the pit from pole to pole, 

I thank whatever gods may be 
For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 


I have not winced nor cried aloud, 
Under the bludgeonings of Chance, 
My head is bloody but unbowed. 

Beyond this Place of wrath and tears, 

Looms but the Horror of the Shade, 
And yet the Menace of the years 

Finds and shall find me Unafraid. 
It matters not how strait the gate, 

How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the Master of my Fate, 

I am the Captain of my Soul. 

That, as you know was Henley's, and as I 
turned up Ms volume of poems to copy out that 
poem I came again on these familiar lines: 

The ways of Death are soothing? and serene, 
And all the words of Death are grave and sweet, 
From camp and church, the fireside and the street, 

She beckons forth and strife and song have been. 

A summer's night descending cool and green, 
And dark on daytime's dust and stress and heat, 

The ways of Death are soothing and serene, 
And all the words of Death are grave and sweet 

There seems something in that also which I 
could spare only very reluctantly from a new Bible 
in the world. Yet I tender those lines very doubt- 
fully. Tor I am not a very cultivated and well- 
read person, and note only the things that have 
struck upon my mind ; but I quite understand that 
there must be many things of the same sort, but 
better, that I have never encountered, or that I 


have not heard or read under circumstances that 
were favourable to their proper appreciation. I 
would rather say about what I am quoting- in this 
section, not positively "this thing/ 7 but merely 
"this sort of thing. 7 ' 

And in the vein of "this sort of thing' 7 let me 
quote you again for the Book of Freedom a 
passage from Milton, defending the ancient Eng- 
lish tradition of free speech and free decision and 
praising London and England. This London and 
England of which he boasts have broadened out 
as the idea of Jerusalem has broadened out, to 
world-wide comprehensions. Let no false modesty 
blind us to our great tradition; you and I are still 
thinking in Milton's city; we continue, however 
unworthily, the great inheritance of ;the world- 
wide responsibility and service, of His English- 
men. Here is my passage : 

"Now once again by all concurrence of signs, 
and by the general instinct of holy and devout 
men, as they daily and solemnly express their 
thoughts, God is decreeing to begin some new and 
great period in His Church, even to the reforming 
of reformation itself; what does He then but reveal 
Himself to His servants, and as His manner is, 
first to His Englishmen? I say, as His manner 
is, first to us, though we mark not the method of 
His counsels, and are unworthy. Behold now this 
vast city, a city of refuge, the mansion-house of 
liberty, encompassed and surrounded with His 


protection; the slop of war liatli not there more 
anvils and hammers working, to fashion out the 
plates and instruments of armed justice in defence 
of beleaguered truth, than there be pens and he,ads 
there, sitting by their studious lamps, musing, 
searching, revolving new notions and ideas where- 
with to present, as with their homage and their 
fealty, the approaching reformation: others as 
fast reading, trying all things, assenting to the 
force of reason and convincement. 

"What could a man require more from a na- 
tion so pliant and so prone to seek after know- 
ledge? What wants there to such a towardly and 
pregnant soil, but wise and faithful labourers, to 
make a knowing people, a nation of prophets, of 
sages, and of worthies? We reckon more than five 
months yet to harvest; there need not be five 
weeks, had we but eyes to lift up, the fields are 
white already. Where there is much desire to 
learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, 
much writing, many opinions ; for opinion in good 
men is but knowledge in the making. Under these 
fantastic terrors of sect and schism, we wrong the 
earnest and zealous thirst after knowledge and 
understanding, which God hath stirred up in this 
city. What some lament of, we rather should re- 
joice at, should rather praise this pious forward- 
ness among men, to reassume the ill-deputed care 
of their religion into their own hands again. A 
little generous prudence, a little forbearance of 
one another, and some grain of charity might win 


all these diligencies to join and unite into one gen- 
eral and brotherly search after truth ; could we but 
forego this prelatieal tradition of crowding free 
consciences and Christian liberties into canons and 
precepts of men. I doubt not, if some great and 
worthy stranger should come among us, wise to 
discern the mould and temper of a people, and 
how to govern it, observing the high hopes and 
aims, the diligent alacrity of our extended 
thoughts and reasonings in the pursuance of truth 
and freedom, but that he would cry out as Pyrrhus 
did, admiring the Eoman docility and courage : 'If 
such were my Epirots, I would not despair the 
greatest design that could be attempted to make a 
church or kingdom happy.' 

"Yet these are the men cried put against for 
schismatics and sectaries, as if, while the temple of 
the Lord was building, some cutting, some squar- 
ing the marble, others hewing the cedars, there 
should be a sort of irrational men, who could not 
consider there must be many schisms and many 
dissections made in the quarry and in the timber 
ere the house of God can be built. And when every 
stone is laid artfully together, it cannot be united 
into a continuity, it can but be contiguous in this 
world: neither can ev^ry piece of the bu : lding be 
of one form ; nay, rather the perfection consists in 
this, that out of many moderate varieties and 
brotherly dissimilitudes that are not vastly dis- 
proportions!, arises the goodly and the graceful 
symmetry that commends the whole pile and struc- 


But I will not go on turning over the pages of 
books and reciting prose and poetry to yon. I 
cannot even begin to remind yon of the immense 
treasure of noble and ennobling prose and verse 
that this world has accumulated in the past three 
thousand years. Not one soul in ten thousand thaj; 
is born into this world even tastes from that 
store. For most of mankind now that treasure is 
as if it had never been. Is it too much to sug- 
gest that we should make some organized attempt 
to gather up the quintessence of literature now, 
and make it accessible to the masses of our race f 
Why should we not on a large scale with a certain 
breadth and dignity set about compiling the Poetic 
Books, the Books of Inspiration for a renewed 
Bible, for a Bible of Civilization! It seems to 
me that such a Book made universally accessible, 
made a basis of teaching everywhere, could set 
the key of the whole world's thought. 

There remains one other element if we are to 
complete the parallelism of the old Bible and the 
new. The Christian Bible ends with a forecast, 
the Book of ^Revelation ; the Hebrew Bible ended 
also with forecasts, the Prophets. To that the old 
Bibte owed much of its magic power over men's 
imaginations and the inspiration it gave them. It 
was not a dead record, not an accumulation of 
things finished and of songs sung. It pointed 
steadily and plainly to the Days to Come as the 
end and explanation of all that went before. So, 
too, our modern Bible, if it is to hold and rule the 
imagination of men, must close, I think, with a 
Book of Forecasts. 

We want to make our world think more than it 
does about the consequences of the lives it leads 
and the political deeds that it does and that it 
permits to be done. We want to turn the human 
imagination round again towards the future which 
our lives create. We want a collection and digest 
of forecasts and warnings to complete this modern 
Bible of ours. Now here I think you will say and 
I admit with perfect reason that I am floating 
away from any reasonable possibility at all. How 
can we have forecasts and prophecies of things 
that are happening now! Well, I will make a clean 



breast of it, and admit that I am asking for some- 
thing that may be impossible. Nevertheless it is 
something that is very necessary if men axe to 
remain indeed intelligent co-operating communi- 
ties. In the past you will find where there have 
been orderly and successful communities the men 
in them had an idea of a Destiny, of some object, 
something that would amount to a criterion and 
judgment upon their collective conduct. Well, I 
believe that we have to get back to something of 
that sort. 

We have statesmen and politicians who profess 
to guide our destinies. Whither are they guiding 
our destinies? 

Surely they have some idea. The great Ameri- 
can statesmen and the great European statesmen 
are making To-morrow. What is the To-morrow 
they are making? 

They must have some idea of it. Otherwise they 
must be imposters. I am loth to believe them 
imposters, mere adventurers who have blundered 
into positions of power and honour with no idea of 
what they are doing to the world. But if they 
have an idea of what they are doing to the world, 
they foresee and intend a Future. That, I take 
it, is sound reasoning and the inference is plain. 

They ought to write down their ideas of this 
Future before us. It would be helpful to all of 
us. It might be a very helpful exercise for them. 
It is, I think, reasonable for Americans to ask the 
great political personages of America, the presi- 
dent and so forth, for example : whether they think 


the United States will stand alone in twenty-five 
years 7 time as they stand alone now? Or whether 
they think that there will be a greater United 
States of all America or of all the world! 
They must Imow their own will about that. And 
it is equally reasonable to ask the great political 
personages of the British Empire : what will Ire- 
land be in twenty-five years' time? What will 
India be? There mnst be a plan, an intended 
thing. Otherwise these men have no intentions ; 
otherwise they must be, in two words, dangerous 
fools. The sooner we substitute a type of man 
with a sufficient foresight and capable of articu- 
late speech in the matter, the better for our race. 

And again every statesman and every politician 
throughout the world says that the relations of 
industrial enterprise to the labour it employs are 
unsatisfactory. Yes. But how are those relations 
going to develop? How do they mean them to de- 

Are we just drifting into an unknown darkness 
in all these matters with blind leaders of our blind- 
ness? Or cannot a lot of these things be figured 
out by able and intelligent people ? I put it to you 
that they can. That it is a reasonable and proper 
thing to ask our statesmen and politicaans : what 
is going to happen to the world! What sort of 
better social order are you making for? What 
sort of world order are you creating? Let them 
open their minds to us, let them put upon per- 
manent record the significance of all their in- 
trigues and manoeuvres. Then as they go on we 


can check their capacity and good faith. We can 
establish a control at last that will rnle presidents 
and kings. 

Now the answer to these questions for states- 
men is what I mean by a Boole of Forecasts. Such 
a book I believe is urgently needed to help our 
civilization. It is a book we ought all to pos- 
sess and read. I know you will say that such a 
Book of Forecasts will be at first a preposterously 
insufficient book that every year will show it up 
and make it more absurd. I quite agree. The 
first Boole of Forecasts will be a poor thing. Mis- 
erably poor. So poor that people will presently 
clamour to have it thoroughly revised. 

The revised Book of Forecasts will not be quite 
so bad. It will have been tested against realities. 
It will form the basis of a vast amount of criticism 
and discussion. 

"When again it conies to be revised, it will be 
much nearer possible realities. 

I put it to you that the psychology, the men- 
tality of a community that has a Book of Forecasts 
in hand and under watchful revision will be alto- 
gether steadier and stronger and clearer than 
that of a community which lives as we do to-day, 
mere adventurers, without foresight, in a world 
of catastrophes and accidents and unexpected 
things. We shall be living again in a plan. Our 
lives will be shaped to certain defined ends. We 
shall fall into place in a great scheme of activities. 
We shall recover again some or all of the stead- 
fastness and dignity of the old religious life. 


Let me with this Book of Forecasts round off 
my fantasy, I would picture to you this modern 
Bible, perhaps two or three times as bulky as the 
old Bible, and consisting first of 

The Historical Books with maps and the like; 

The Books of Conduct and Wisdom;, 

The Anthologies of Poetry and Literature; 
and finally, the 

Book of Forecasts, taking the place of the 
Prophets and Bevelations. 

I would picture this revivified Bible to yon as 
most carefully done and printed and made ac- 
cessible to all, the basis of education in every 
school, the common platform of all discussion 
just as in the past the old Bible used to be. I 
would ask you to imagine it translated into every 
language, a common material of understanding 
throughout all the world. 

And furthermore, I imagine something else 
about this quite unlike the old Bible I imagine 
all of it periodically revised. The historical books 
would need to be revised and brought up to date, 
there would be new lights on health and conduct, 
there would be fresh additions to the anthologies, 
and there would be Forecasts that would have to 
be struck out because they were realized or 



because they were shown to be hopeless or un- 
desirable, and fresh Forecasts would be added to 
replace them. It would be a Bible moving for- 
ward and changing and gaining with human ex- 
perience and human destiny. . . . 
^ Well, that is my dream of a Bible of Civiliza- 
tion. Have I in any way carried my vision out 
to you of this little row of four or five volumes in 
every house, in every life, throughout the world, 
holding the lives and ideas and imaginations of 
men together in a net of common familiar phrases 
and common established hopes? 

And is this a mere fantastic talk, or is this a 
thing that could be done and that ought to be done? 

I do not know how it will appear to you, but 
to me it seems that this book I have been talking 
about, the Bible of to-day's civilization, is not 
simply a conceivable possibility, it is a great and 
urgent need. Our education is, I think, pointless 
without it, a shell without a core. Our social life 
is aimless without it, we are a crowd without a 
common understanding. Only by means of some 
such unifying instrument, I believe, can we hope 
to lift human life out of its present dangerous drift 
towards confusion and disaster. 

It is, I think therefore, an urgently desirable 

It is also a very practicable one. The creation 
of such a Bible, its printing and its translation, 
and a propaganda that would carry it into the 
homes and schools of most of the world, could I 
all be achieved by a few hundred resolute 


and capable people at a cost of thirty or forty mil- 
lion dollars. That is a less sum than that the 
United States in a time when they have no enemy 
to fear in all the world are prepared to spend 
upon the building of what is for them p-n entirely 
superfluous and extravagant toy, a great navy. 

You may, you probably will, differ very widely 
upon, much that I have here put before you. Let 
me ask you not to let any of the details of my 
sketching set you against the fundamental idea, 
that old creative idea of the Bohemian education- 
ist who was the pupil of Bacon and the friend of 
Milton, the idea of Komensky, the idea of creating 
and using a common book, a book of knowledge 
and wisdom, as the necessary foundation for any 
enduring toman unanimity. 



now I am going on to a review of the broad 
facts of the educational organization of our pres- 
ent world. 

I am myself a very undereducated person. It 
is a constant trouble to me. Like seeks like in 
this world. I propose to ask the question whether 
the whole world is not underedueated, and I warn 
yon in advance that I am going to answer in the 

I am going to discuss the possibility of raising 
the general educational level very considerably, 
and I am going to consider what such a raising of 
the educational level would mean in human life. 

I propose to adopt rather a vulgar, businesslike 
tone about all this. I am going to apply to the 
human community much the same s*ort of tests 
that a manufacturer applies to his factory. His 
factory has some distinctive product, and when he 
looks into his affairs he tries to find out whether 
he gets the best possible quality of _ the product, 
whether he gets it as efficiently and inexpensively 
as possible, and constantly how he can improve his 
factory and his processes in all these matters. 

Now the human community may be regarded as 



a concern engaged in the production of human 
life. And it may be judged very largely by the 
question whether the human life it produces is 
abundant and full and intense and beautiful. 

Most of the tests that we apply to a state or 
a city or a period or a nation resolve themselves, 
you will find, into these questions : 

What was the life it produced? 

What is the life it produces! 

Now I will further assume that as yet the com- 
munity has little or no control over the raw prod- 
uct, over the life, that is to say, that comes into 
it. I admit that from at least the time of Plato 
onward the possibility has been discussed of 
breeding human beings as we do horses and dogs. 
There is an enormous amount of what is called 
eugenic literature and discussion to-day. But I 
wifl set all that sort of thing aside from our pres- 
ent discussion because I do not think anything of 
the kind is practicable at the present time. 

Quite apart from any other considerations, one 
has to remember one entire difference between the 
possible breeding of human beings and the actual 
breeding of dogs and horses. We breed dogs and 
horses for uniformity, for certain very limited 
specified points speed, scent and the like. But 
human beings we should have to breed for variety : 
we cannot specify any particular points^ we want. 
We want statesmen and poets and musicians and 
philosophers and swift men and strong men and 
delicate men and brave men. The qualities of 
one would be the weaknesses of another. 


It is really a false analogy, that between the 
breeding of men and the breeding of horses and 
dogs. In the case of human beings we want much 
more subtle and delicate combinations of qualities. 
For any practical purposes we do not know what 
we want nor do we know how to get it. So let us 
rule that theme out of our present discussion 

And I also propose to rule out another set of 
topics from this discussion simply because if we 
don't do so we shall have more matter than we 
can handle conveniently in the time at our disposal. 
I propose to leave out all questions of health and 
physical welfare. There is, as you know, a vast 
literature now in existence, concerned with the 
health and welfare of children before and after 
birth, concerned with infantile life, with social 
conditions and social work directed to the produc- 
tion of a vigorous population. I am going to as- 
sume here_that all that sort of thing is seen to 
that it is all right, that somebody is doing that, 
that we need not trouble for the present about any 
of those things. 

This leaves us with the mental life only of our 
community and its individuals to consider. On 
that I propose to concentrate this discussion. 

Now the human ;mind in its opening stages in 
a civilized community passes through a process 
which may best be named as schooling. And under 
schooling I would include not only the sort of 
things that we do to a prospective citizen in the 
school and the infant school but also anything in 


the nature of a school-like lesson that is done by 
the mother or nurse or tutor at home, or by play- 
mates and companions anywhere. Out of this 
schooling arises the general mental life. It is the 
structural ground-stuff of all education and 

Now what is this schooling to do what is it 
doing to the new human being? 

Let us recall what our own schooling was. 

It fell into two pretty clearly defined parts. 
We learnt reading and writing, we made a certain 
study of grammar, the method of language, per- 
haps we learnt the beginnings of some other lan- 
guage than our own; we learnt some arithmetic 
and perhaps a little geometry and algebra ; we did 
some drawing. All these things were ways of ex- 
pression, means of expressing ourselves, means of 
comprehending our thoughts in terms of other peo- 
ple's minds, and of understanding the expressions 
of others. That was the basis and substance of 
our schooling; a training in mental elucidation 
and in communication with other minds. But also 
as our schooling went on there was something 
more ; we learnt a little history, some geography, 
the beginnings of science. This second part of 
education was not so much expression as wisdom. 
We learnt what was generally known of the world 
about us and of its past. We entered into the com- 
mon knowledge, and common ideas of the world. 

Now, obviously, this sdhoolmg is merely a spe- 
cialization and expansion of a parental function. 

In the primitive ages of onr race the parent, 


and particularly the mother, out of an instinctive 
impulse and practical necessity, restrained and 
showed and taught, and the child, with an instinc- 
tive imitativeness and docility, obeyed and learnt. 
And as the primitive family grew into a tribe, as 
functions specialized and the range of knowledge 
widened, this primitive schooling by the mother 
was supplemented and extended by the showing 
of things by companions and by the maxims and 
initiations of old men. 

It was only with the development of early civili- 
zations, as the mysteries of writing and reading 
began to be important in life, that the school, qua 
school, became a thing in itself. And as the com- 
munity expanded, the scope of instruction ex- 
panded with it. Schooling is, in fact, and always 
has been, the expansion and development of the 
primitive savage mind ? which is still all that we 
inherit, to adapt it to the needs of a larger com- 
munity. It makes out of the savage raw material 
which is our basal mental stuff, a citizen. It is a 
necessary process of fusion if a civilized commu- 
nity is to keep in being. Without at least a net- 
work of schooled persons, able to communicate its 
common ideas and act in intelligent co-operation, 
no community beyond a mere family group can 
ever hold together. 

As the human community expands, therefore, 
the range of schooling must expand to keep pace 
with it. 

I want to base my enquiry upon that proposi- 


tion. If it is sound, certain very interesting con- 
clusions follow. 

I have already shown in the preceding discus- 
sions that the range of the modern state has in- 
creased at least ten times in the past century, and 
that the scale of our community of intercourse has 
increased correspondingly. I want now to ask if 
there has been any corresponding enlargement of 
the scope of the schooling either of the commu- 
nity as a whole or of any special governing classes 
in the community to keep pace with this tremen- 
dous extension of range. I am going to argue 
that there has not been such an enlargement, and 
that a large factor in our present troubles is the 
failure of education and educational method to 
keep pace with the new demands made upon them. 

Now I will first ask what would one like one's 
son or daughter to get at school to make him or 
her a full living citizen of this modern world. And 
at first I will not take into consideration the ques- 
tion of expense or any such practical difficulties. 
I will suppose that for the education of this for- 
tunate young citizen whose case we are consider- 
ing we have limitless means, the best possible 
tutors, the best apparatus and absolutely the most 
favourable conditions. The only limits to the 
teaching of this young citizen are his or her own 
limitations. We suppose a pupil of fair average 
intelligence only. 

Now first we shall want our pupil to under- 
stand, speak, read and write the mother tongue 
well. To do this thoroughly in English involves 


a fairly sound knowledge of Latin grammar and 
at least some slight knowledge of the elements of 
Greek. Latin and Greek, which are disappearing 
as distinct and separate subjects from many 
school curricula, are returning as necessary parts 
of the English course. 

But nowadays a full life is not to be lived with 
a single language. The world becomes polyglot. 
Even if we do not want to live among foreigners, 
we want to read their books and newspapers and 
understand and follow their thought. Few of us 
there are how would not gladly read and speak 
several more languages if we had the chance of 
doing so. I would therefore set down as a desir- 
able part of this ideal education we are planning, 
two or three other languages in addition to the 
mother tongue learnt early and thoroughly. These 
additional languages can be acquired easily if 
they are learnt in the right way. The easiest 
way to learn a language is to learn it when you are 
quite young. Many prosperous people in Europe 
nowadays contrive to bring up their children with 
two or three foreign languages, by employing for- 
eign nurses and nursery governesses who never 
speak to the children except in the foreign lan- 
guages. In many cases what is known as the alter- 
nate week system prevails. The governess is 
Swiss and for one week she talks nothing but 
French and for another nothing but German. In 
this way the children at the age of eight or nine 
can be made to talk all three languages with a 
perfect accent and an easy idiom. 


Now if this can be done for some children it 
could be done for all children provided we could 
find the nurses and governesses or some equiva- 
lent for the nurses and governesses, and if we can 
organize the business efficiently. That point I 
will defer. I note here simply that the thing is 
possible, if not practicable. 

Children, however, who have made this much 
start with languages are unable in England and 
America, at least, to go on properly with the 
learning of languages when they pass into a 
school. Our schools are so badly organized that 
it is rare to find even French well taught, and 
there is rarely any teaching at all of modern lan- 
guages other than French or German. Often the 
two foreign languages are taught by different 
teachers employing different methods, and both 
employing a different grammatical nomenclature 
from that used in studying the mother tongue. 
The classes are encumbered with belated begin- 
ners. The child who has got languages from its 
governess therefore marks time that is to say, 
wastes time in these subjects at school. The child 
well grounded in some foreign tongue is often a 
source of irritation to the teacher, and gets into 
trouble because it uses idiomatic expressions with 
which the teacher is unfamiliar, or seems to reflect 
upon the teacher's accent. These are the limita- 
tions of the school and not the limitations of the 
pupil. Given facilities, there is no reason why 
there should not be a rapid expansion of the 
language syllabus at thirteen or f ourteen, and why 


language generally should not be studied. Some 
Slavonic language could be taken up Russian or 
Czech and a beginning made with some non- 
Aryan tongue Arabic, for example. 

The object of language teaching in a civilized 
state is twofold: to give a thorough, intimate, 
usable knowledge of the mother tongue and of 
certain key languages. But if teaching were sys- 
tematic and no time were wasted, if schooling 
joined on and were continuous instead of being 
catastrophieally disconnected, there is another 
side of language teaching altogether now en- 
tirely disregarded and that is the acquisition in 
skeleton of quite a number of languages clustering 
round the key languages. If at the end of his 
schooling a boy knows English, French and Ger- 
man very well and nothing more, he is still a help- 
less foreigner in relation to large parts of the 
world. But if, in addition, he has an outline 
knowledge of Eussian and Arabic or Turkish or 
Hindustani it need only be a quite bare outline 
and if he has had a term or so of Spanish in 
relation to his French, or Swedish in relation to 
his German, then he has the key in his hands for 
almost any language he may want. If he has not 
the language in his head, he has it very conven- 
iently on call he needs but a sensible conversa- 
tion dictionary and in a little while he can possess 
himself of it. 

You may think this a large order; you may 
think I am demanding linguistic prodigies; but 
remember that I am upon my own ground here; I 


am a trained teacher and a student of pedagogic 
science, and I am a watehf ul parent ; I know how 
time and opportunity are wasted in school, and 
particularly in language teaching. Languages are 
not things that exist in isolated subjects; each 
one illuminates the other and unless it is 
taught with stupefying stupidity leads on to 
others. A child can acquire the polyglot habit 
almost unawares. This widening grasp of lan- 
guages is or was within the capacity of nearly 
everyone born into the world given the facilities. 

I ask you to note that qualification ** given the 

And now let us turn from the language side to 
the rest of schooling. A second main division of 
our schooling was mathematical instruction of a 
sort. It fell into the three more or less watertight 
compartments of arithmetic, algebra and Euclid. 
We carried on in these closed cells what was, I 
now perceive, a needlessly laborious and need- 
lessly muddled struggle to comprehend quantity, 
series and form. 

In all these matters, looking back upon what I 
was taught, comparing it with what I now know, 
and comparing my -mind with the minds of more 
fortunate individuals, I cannot resist the persua- 
sion that I was very badly done indeed in this sec- 
tion. And. it is small consolation to me to note 
that most people's minds seem to be no better 
done than mine. 

My arithmetic, for instance, is mediocre. It is 
pervaded by inaccuracy. You may say that this 


is probably want of aptitude. Partly, no doubt, 
but not altogether. "What is want of aptitude! 
Bad as my arithmetic is now it is not so bad as it 
was when I left school. When I was about twenty 
I held a sort of inquest upon it and found out a 
number of things. I found that I had been allowed 
to acquire certain bad habits and besetting sins 
most people do. For instance, when I ran up a 
column of figures to add them I would pass from 
nine to seven quite surely and say sixteen ; but if 
I went from seven to nine I had a vicious disposi- 
tion to make it eighteen. Endless additions went 
wrong through that one error. I had fumbled into 
this vice and this is my point my school had 
no apparatus, and no system of checks, to discover 
that this had occurred. I used to get my addi- 
tion wrong and I used to be punished stupidly 
by keeping me in from exercise. Time after time 
this happened; there was no investigation and no 
improvement. Nobody ever put me through a 
series of test sums that would have analyzed my 
errors and discovered these besetting sins of 
mine that led to my inaccurate arithmetic. 

And another thing that made my arithmetic 
wrong was a defect in eyesight. My two eyes 
haven't quite the same focal length and this often 
puts me out of the straight with a column of 
figures. Bnt there was nothing in my school to 
discover that, and my school never did discover it. 

My geometrical faculties are also very poor and 
undeveloped. Euclid's elements, indeed, I have 
always found simple and straightforward, but 


when it comes to anything in solid geometry the 
intersection of a sphere by a cone, let us say, or 
something of that sort I am hopelessly at sea. 
Deep-seated habits of faulting and fogging, which 
were actually developed by my schooling, prevent 
my forming any conception of the surfaces 

Here again, just as with the language teaching, 
hardly any of us are really fully educated. We 
suffer, nearly all of us, from a lack of quantitative 
grasp and from an imperfect grasp of form. Few 
of us have acquired such a grasp. Few of us ever 
made a proper use of models, and nearly all of 
us have miserably trained hands. Given proper 
facilities and here again I ask you to note that 
proviso given proper educational facilities 
most of us would not only be able to talk with 
most people in the world but we should also have 
a conception of form and quantity far more subtle 
than that possessed by any but a few mathema- 
tici^ns and mechanical geniuses to-day. 

Let me now come to a third main division of 
what we call schooling. In our schooling there 
was an attempt to give us a view of the world 
about us and a view of our place in it, under the 
headings of History and Geography. 

It would be impossible to imagine a feebler 
attempt. The History and Geography I had was 
perhaps, in one respect, the next best thing to a 
good course. It was so thoroughly and hopelessly 
bad that it left me with a vivid sense of ignorance. 


I read, therefore, with great avidity during my 

In English schools now I doubt if the teaching 
of history is much better than it was in my time, 
but geography has grown and improved largely 
through the vigorous initiative of Professor Hux- 
ley, who replaced the old dreary topography by a 
vivid description of the world and mingled with it 
a sort of general elementary science under the 
name of Physiography. This subject, with the 
addition of some elementary Biology and Physiol- 
ogy does now serve to give many young people in 
Great Britain something like a general view of 
the world as a whole. We need now to make a 
parallel push with the teaching of history. Upon 
this matter of the teaching of history I am a 
fanatic. I cannot think of an education as even 
half done until there has been a fairly sound re- 
view of the whole of the known past, from the 
beginnings of the geological record up to our own 
time. Until that is done, the pupil has not been 
placed in the world. He is incapable of under- 
standing his relationship to and his role in the 
scheme of things. He is, whatever else he may 
have learnt, essentially an ignorant person. 

And now let me recapitulate these demands I 
have made upon the process of schooling this 
process of teaching that begins in the nursery and 
ends about the age of sixteen or seventeen. I 
have asked that it should involve a practical mas- 
tery of three or four languages, including the 
mother tongue, and that perhaps four or five 


other additional languages shall have been 
studied, so to speak, in skeleton. I have added 
mathematics carried much higher and farther than 
most of our schools do to-day. I have demanded 
a sound knowledge of universal history, a knowl- 
edge of general physical and general biological 
science, and I have thrown in, with scarcely a word 
of apology, a good training of the eyes and hands 
in drawing and manual work. 

So far as the pupil goes, I submit this is an 
entirely practicable proposal. It can be done, I 
am convinced, with any ordinary pupil of average 
all-round ability, given what is now almost uni- 
versally wanting the proper educational facili- 
ties. And now I will go on. to examine the ques- 
tion, of why these facilities are wanting. I want 
to ask why a large class, if not the whole of our 
population, is not educated up to the level of wicle 
understanding and fully developed capacity such 
a schooling as I have sketched out implies. 

"Well, the first fact obvious to every parent who 
has ever enquired closely into the educational out- 
look of his offspring, the first fact we have to f $ce 
is this: there are not enough properly equipped 
schools and, still more, not enough good teachers, 
to do the job. It is proclaiming no very profound 
secret to declare that there is hardly such a thing 
in the world to-day as a fully equipped school, 
that is to say a school having all the possible ma- 
terial and apparatus and staffed sufficiently with 
a bright and able teacher, a really live and alert 
educationist, in every necessary subject, such as 


would be needed to give this ideal education. That 
is the great primary obstacle, that is the core of 
our present problem. "We cannot get our modern 
community educated to anything like its full possi- 
bilities as yet because we have neither the teachers 
nor the schools. 

Now is this a final limitation? 

For a moment I will leave the question of the 
possibilities of more and better equipped schools 
on one side. I will deal with the supply of teach- 
ers. At present we do not even attempt to get 
good teachers ; we do not offer any approach to a 
tolerable life for an ordinary teacher; we compel 
them to lead mean and restricted lives ; we under- 
pay them shockingly; we do not deserve nearly 
such good teachers as we get. But even supposing 
we were to offer reasonable wages for teachers ; an 
average all-round wage of 1000 a year or so, and 
respect and dignity; it does not follow that we 
should get as many as we should need using the 
methods that are in use to-day to provide this 
ideal schooling for most of our population, or, 
indeed, for any large section of our population. 

You will note a new proviso creeping in at this 
point "using the methods that are used to-day. " 

Because you must remember it is not simply a 
matter of payment that makes the teacher. 
Teachers are born and not made. Good teaching 
requires a peculiar temperament and distinctive 
aptitudes. I doubt very much, even if you could 
secure the services of every human being who had 
the natural gifts needed in a good teacher, if you 


could disregard every question of cost and pay- 
ment, I doubt whether even then you would com- 
mand the services of more than one passable 
teacher for a hundred children and of more than 
one really inspired and inspiring teacher for five 
hundred children. No doubt you could get a sort 
of teacher for every score or even for every dozen 
children, a commonplace person who could be 
trained to do a few simple educational things, but 
I am speaking now of good teachers who have the 
mental subtlety, the sympathy and the devotion 
necessary for efficient teaching by the individualis- 
tic methods in use to-day. And since, using the 
methods that are used to-day, you can only hope 
to secure fully satisfactory results with one 
teacher to every score of pupils, or fewer, and 
since it is unlikely we shall ever be able to com- 
mand the services of more than a tithe of the peo- 
ple who could teach well, it seems that we come 
np here against an insurmountable obstacle to an 
educated population. 

Now I want to press home the idea of that diffi- 
culty. I am an old and seasoned educationist; 
most of my earliest writings are concealed in the 
anonymity of the London educational papers of a 
quarter of a century ago, and my knowledge of 
educational literature is fairly extensive. I know 
in particular the literature of educational reform. 
And I do not recall that I have ever encountered 
any recognition of this fundamental difficulty w 
the way of educational development. The litera- 
ture of educational reform is always assuming 


parents of limitless intelligence, sympathy and 
means, employing teachers of limitless energy and 
capacity. And that to an extreme degree is what 
we haven't got and what we can never hope to 

Educational reformers seem always to be look- 
ing at education from the point of view of the 
individual scholastic enterprise and of the indi- 
vidual pupil, and hardly ever from the point of 
view of a public task dealing with the community 
as a whole. For all practical purposes this makes 
waste paper of a considerable proportion of edu- 
cational literature. This literature, the reader 
will find, is pervaded by certain fixed ideas. There 
is a sort of standing objection to any machining of 
education. There is, we are constantly told, to be 
no syllabus of instruction, no examinations and no 
controls, no prescribed text-books or diagrams be- 
cause these things limit the genius of the teacher. 
And this goes on with a blissful invincible disre- 
gard of the fact that in nine hundred and ninety- 
nine cases out of the thousand the genius of the 
teacher isn't and can't be there. And also of the 
fact that this affair of elementary education has 
in its essentials been done over and over and over 
again for thousands of millions of times. There 
ought to be as much scope left for genius and 
originality in ordinary teaching as there is for 
genius a,nd originality in a hen laying an ordinary 

These educational idealists are always disre- 
garding the fundamental problem of educational 


organization altogether, the problem of economy, 
economy of the most precious thing of all, teaching 
power. It is the problem of stretching the com- 
petent teacher over the maximum number of 
pupils, and that can be done only by the same 
methods^ of economy that are practised in every 
other large-scale production by the standardiza- 
tion of everything that can be standardized, and 
by the use of every possible time and labour-sav- 
ing device and every possible replacement of hu- 
man effort, not in order to dispense with original- 
ity and initiative but in order to conserve them 
for application at their points of maximum 

I have said that a disregard of the possibilities 
of wide organization and its associated economy 
of effort is characteristic of most "advanced 77 
educational literature. You will, if you will exam- 
ine them, find that disregard working out to its 
natural consequences in what are called the " ad- 
vanced " schools that appeal to educationally anx- 
ious parents nowadays. You will find that these 
places, often very picturesque and pleasing-look- 
ing places, are rarely prosperous enough to main- 
tain more than one or two good teachers. The 
rest of the staff shrinks from scrutiny. You will 
find these schools adorned with attractive dia- 
grams drawn by the teachers, and strikingly origi- 
nal models and apparatus made by the teachers, 
and if you look closely into the matter or consult 
an intelligent pupil, you will find there are never 
enough diagrams and apparatus to see a course 


through. If yon press that matter you will find 
that they haven't had time to make them so far, 
And they will never get so far. No school, how- 
ever rich and prosperous and however enthusias- 
tically run, can hope to make for itself all the 
plant and diagrams and apparatus needed for a 
fully efficient modern education such as we have 
sketched out. As well might a busy man hope 
to array himself, by his own efforts, with hats, 
suits and boots made by himself out of wool and 
raw hides. 

But now I think you will begin to see what I 
am driving at. It is this : that if the general level 
of education is to be raised in our modern com- 
munity, and if that better education is to be 
spread over most of our community, it is necessary 
to reorganize education in the world upon entirely 
bolder, more efficient, and more economical lines. 
We are inexorably limited as to the number of 
good teachers we can get into the educational 
organization, and we are limited as inexorably as 
to the quality of the rank and file of our teaching 
profession; but we are not limited in the equip- 
ment and systematic organization of teaching 
methods and apparatus. That is what I want par- 
ticularly to enlarge upon now. 

Think of the ordinary school-house a mere 
empty brick building with a few hat-pegs, a stale 
map or so, half a dozen plaster casts, a few hun- 
dred tattered books, a blackboard, and some 
broken chemical apparatus: think of it as the 
dingy insufficiency it is ! In such a place the best 


teacher must needs waste three-fourths of his en- 
ergies- In such a place staff and pupils meet 
chiefly to -waste each other's time. This is the first 
and principal point at which we can stanch the 
wastage of teaching energy that now goes on. 
Everywhere ahout the world nowadays, the school- 
house is set up and equipped by a private person 
or a local authority in more or less complete igno- 
rance of educational possibilities, in more or less 
complete disconnectedness, without any of the 
help or any of the economy that comes from a cen- 
tralized mass production. Let us now consider 
what we might have in the place of this typical 
schoolhouse of to-day. 

Let me first suggest that every school should 
have a -complete library of very full and explicit 
lesson notes, properly sorted and classified. All 
the ordinary subjects in schools have been taught 
over and over again millions and millions of times. 
Few people, I think, realize that, and fewer still 
realize the reasonable consequences of that. Hu- 
man minds are very much the same everywhere, 
and the best way of teaching every ordinary school 
subject, the best possible lesson and the best pos- 
sible succession of lessons, ought to have been 
worked out to the last point, and the courses ought 
to have been stereotyped long ago. Tet if you go 
into any school to-day, in ninety-nine cases out of 
the hundred you will find an inexpert and ill-pre- 
pared young teacher giving a clumsy, vamped-up 
lesson as though it had never been given before. 
He or she will have no proper notes and no proper 


diagrams, and a halting and faulty discourse will 
be eked out by feeble scratcMngs with, chalk on a 
blackboard, by querulous questioning of the 
pupils, and irrelevancies. The thing is prepos- 

And linked up with this complete equipment of 
proper lesson notes upon which the teacher will 
give the lessons, there should be a thing which 
does not exist at present in any school and which 
ought to exist in every school, a collection of some 
hundreds of thousands of pictures and diagrams, 
properly and compactly filed ; a copious supply of 
maps, views of scenery, pictures of towns, and so 
forth for teaching geography, diagrams and tables 
for scientific subjects, and so on and so on. You 
must remember that if the schools of the world 
were thought of as a whole and dealt with as a 
whole, these things could be produced wholesale at 
a cost out of comparison cheaper than they are 
made to-day. There is no reason whatever why 
school equipment should not be a world market. 
A lesson upon the geography of Sweden needs pre- 
cisely the same maps, the same pictures of scenery, 
types of people, animals, cities, and so forth, 
whether that lesson is given in China or Peru or 
Morocco or London. There is no reason why these 
pictures and maps should not be printed from the 
same blocks and distributed from the same centre 
for the schools of all mankind. If the government 
of any large country had the vigour and intelli- 
gence to go right ahead and manufacture a proper 
equipment of notes and diagrams for its own use 


in all its own schools, it would probably be able 
to recoup itself for most of the outlay by domi- 
nating the map and diagram markets of the rest 
of the world. 

And next to this full and manageable collection 
of pictures and diagrams, which the teacher would 
whip out, with the appropriate notes, five minutes 
before his lesson began, the modern school would 
have quite a considerable number of gramophones. 
These would be used not only to supply music for 
drill and so forth, and for the analytical study of 
music, but for the language teaching. Instead of 
the teacher having to pretend, as he usually pre- 
tends now, to a complete knowledge of the foreign 
language he can really only smatter, he would 
become the honest assistant of the real teaching 
instrument the gramophone. Here, again, it is 
a case for big methods or none a case for mass 
production. A mass production of gramophone 
records for language teaching throughout the 
world would so reduce the cost that every school 
could quite easily be equipped with a big repertory 
of language records. For the first year of any 
language study, at any rate, the work would go 
always to the accompaniment of the proper accent 
and intonation. And all over the world each lan- 
guage would be taught with the same accent and 
quantities and idioms a very desirable thing in- 

And now let me pass on to another requirement 
for an efficient school that our educational organ- 
ization has still to discover the method of using 


the cinematograph. I ask for half a dozen pro- 
jectors or so in every school, and for a well-stocked 
store-house of films. The possibilities of certain 
branches of teaching have been altogether revolu- 
tionized by the cinematograph. In nearly every 
school nowadays yon will find a lot of more or less 
worn and damaged scientific apparatus which is 
supposed to be used for demonstrating the ele- 
mentary facts of chemistry, physics and the like. 
There is a belief that the science teachers and 
they do their best with the time and skill and 
material at their disposal rig up experimental 
displays of the more illuminating experimental 
facts with this damaged litter. Many of us can 
recall the realities of the sort of demonstration I 
mean. The performance took two or three hours 
to prepare, an hour to deliver and an hour or so to 
clear away; it was difficult to follow, impossible 
to repeat, it usually went wrong, and almost in- 
variably the teacher lost his temper. These prac- 
tical demonstrations occurred usually in the open- 
ing enthusiasm of the term. As the weeks wore 
on, the pretence of practical teaching wag quietly 
dropped, and we era-mined our science out of the 

Now that is the sort of thing that still goes on. 
But it ought to be entirely out of date. All that 
scientific bjric-a-brac in the cupboard had far bet- 
ter be thrown away. All the demonstration ex- 
periments that science teachers will require in the 
future can be performed once for all before a 
cinematograph. They can be done finally; they 


need never be done again. You can get the best 
and most dexterous teacher in the world he can 
do what has to be done with the best apparatus, in 
the best light; anything that is very minute or 
subtle you can magnify or repeat from another 
point of view; anything that is intricate you can 
record with extreme slowness; you can show the 
facts a mile off or six inches off, and all that your 
actual class teacher need do now is to spend five 
minutes on getting out the films he wants, ten 
minutes in reading over the corresponding lecture 
notes, and then he can run the film, give the les- 
son, question his class upon it, note what they miss 
and how they take it, run the film again for a sec- 
ond scrutiny, and get out for the subsequent study 
of the class the ample supply of diagrams and pic- 
tures needed to fix the lesson. Can there be any 
comparison between the educational efficiency of 
the two methods? 

So I put it to you, that it is possible now to 
make and that the world needs badly that we 
should make a new sort of school, a standardized 
school, a school richly equipped with modern ap- 
paratus and economizing the labour of teaching 
to an extent at present undreamt of, in which, all 
over the world, the same stereotyped lessons, lead- 
ing the youth of the whole world through a paral- 
lel course of schooling, can be delivered. 

I know that in putting this before you I chal- 
lenge some of the most popular affectations of cul- 
tivated people. I know that many people will be 
already writhing with a genteel horror at the idea 


of the same lesson being given in identical terms 
to everybody in turn throughout the world. It 
sounds monotonous. It will rob the world of 
variety and so on and so on. But indeed it will 
not be monotonous at all. That lesson will be new 
and fresh and good to every pupil who receives it. 
And remember it is by our hypothesis the best 
possible form and arrangement of that lesson. It 
is to take the place of a sham lesson or no lesson 
at all. There is an eternal freshness in learning 
as in all the other main things in life. It will be 
no more monotonous than having one's seventh 
birthday or falling in love for the first time. 

And as for variety, I for one do not care how 
soon every possible variety of ignorance and mis- 
conception is banished from the world. The sun 
shines on the whole world and it is the same sun. 
I have still to be persuaded that our planet would 
be more various and interesting if it were lit by 
two or three thousand uncertain, spasmodic and 
differently coloured searchlights directed upon it 
from every direction. I am pleading for a clear 
white light of education that shall go like the sun 
round the whole world. 

Yon see that in all this I am driving at what 
shall I call it? syndicated schools, syndicated les- 
son notes, and, so far as equipment goes, mass pro- 
duction. I want to see the sort of thing happen- 
ing to schools that has already happened to many 
sorts of retail shops. In the place of little ill- 
equipped schools, each run by its own teacher and 
buying its own books and diagrams and material 


and so forth in small quantities at high prices, I 
want to see a great central organization, employ- 
ing teachers of genius, working in consultation and 
co-operation and producing lesson notes, dia- 
grams, films, phonograph records, cheaply, abun- 
dantly, on a big scale for a nation, or a group of 
nations, or, if you like, for all the world, just as 
America produces watches and alarum clocks and 
cheap automobiles for all the world. And I want 
to see the schools of the world being run, so far as 
the intellectual training goes, not by local com- 
mittees but by that central organization. 

It is only by this reorganization of schooling 
upon, the lines of big production that we can hope 
to get a civilized community in the world at an 
educational level very markedly higher than, the 
existing educational level. 

But if we could so economize teaching energy 
if we made our really great teachers, by the use 
of modern appliances, teachers not of handfuls but 
of millions ; if we insisted upon a universal appli- 
cation of the best and most effective methods of 
teaching, just as we insist upon the best and most 
effective methods of street traction and town 
lighting then I believe it would be possible to 
build the civilization of the years to come on a 
foundation of mental preparation incomparably 
sounder and higher than anything we know of 



now let us go on to the next stages of 

The schooling process Is a natural phase in 
human development it is our elaboration of the 
natural learning of boyhood and girlhood and of 
adolescence. There was schooling before schools ; 
there "was schooling before humanity. I have 
watched a cat schooling her Mttens. Schooling is 
a part of being young. And we grow up. So 
there comes a time when schooling is over, when 
the process of equipment gives place to an increas- 
ing share in the activities and decisions of adult 

Nevertheless for us education must still go on. 

I suppose that the savage or the barbarian or 
the peasant in any part of the world or the unedu- 
cated man anywhere "would laugh if you told him 
that the adult must still learn. 33ut in our mod- 
ern world I mean the more or less civilized world 
of the last twenty-five centuries or so there has 
grown up a new idea new, I mean, in the sense 
that it runs counter to the life scheme of primi- 
tive humanity and of most other living things 
and that is the idea that one can go on learning 



right up to the end of life. It marks off modern 
man from all animals, that in Ms adult life lie can 
display a sense that there remains something still 
to be investigated and wisdom still to be acquired. 

I do not know enough history to tell yon with 
any confidence when adult men, instead of just 
going about the business of life after they had 
grown up, continued to devote themselves to learn- 
ing, to a deliberate prolongation of what is for all 
other animals an adolescent phase. But by the 
time of Buddha in India and Confucius in China 
and the schools of the philosophers in the Greek 
world the thing was in full progress. That was 
twenty-six centuries ago or more. 

Something of the sort may have been going on 
in the temples of Egypt or Samaria a score of 
centuries before. I do not know. You must ask 
some such great authority as Professor Breasted 
about that. It may be fifty or a hundred centuries 
since men, although they were fully grown up, 
still went on trying to learn. 

The idea of adult learning has spread ever 
since. To-day I suppose most educated people 
would agree that so long as we live we learn and 
ought to learn that we ought to develop our ideas 
and enlarge, correct and change our ideas. 

But even to-day you will find people who have 
not yet acquired this view. You will find even 
teachers and* doctors and business men who are 
persuaded that they had learnt all that there was 
to learn by twenty-five or thirty. It is only quite 
recently that this idea has passed beyond a special 


class and pervaded the world generally the Idea 
of everyone being a life-long student and of the 
whole world becoming, as it were, a university for 
those who have passed beyond the schooling stage. 

It has spread recently because in recent years 
the world has changed so rapidly that the idea of 
settling down for life has passed out of our minds, 
has given place to a new realization of the need 
of continuous adaptation to the very end of our 
days. It is no good settling down in a world that, 
on its part, refuses to do anything of the sort. 

But hitherto, before these new ideas began to 
spread in our community, the mass of men and 
women definitely settled down. At twelve, or fif- 
teen, or sixteen, or twenty it was decided that they 
should stop learning. It has only been a rare 
and exceptional class hitherto that has gone on 
learning throughout life. The scene and field of 
that learning hitherto has been in our "Western 
communities the University. Essentially the Uni- 
versity is and has been an organization of adult 
learning as distinguished from preparatory and 
adolescent learning. 

But between the phase of schooling and the 
phase of adult learning there is an intermediate 

In Scotland and America that is distinguished 
and thought of clearly as the college stage. But in 
England, where we do not think so clearly, this 
college stage is mixed up with and done partly at 
school and partly in the University. It is not 
marked off so definitely from the stage of general 


preparation that precedes it or from the stagg of 
free intellectual enterprise that follows it. 

Now what should college give the young citi- 
zen, male or f emale, upon the foundation of schopl- 
ing we have already sketched out f In practice we 
find a good deal of technical study comes into the 
college stage. The budding lawyer begins to read 
law, the doctor starts his professional studies, the 
future engineer becomes technical, and the young 
merchant sets to work, or should do, to study the 
great movements of commerce and business 
method and organization. 

As the college stage of those who don't, as a 
matter of fact, go to college, we have new in 
every civilized country the evening continuation 
school, the evening technical school and the works 

But important as these things are from the 
point of view of service, they are not the soul not 
the real meaning of the college stage. 

The soul of the college stage, the most impor- 
tant value about it, is that in it is a sort of pre- 
paratory pause and inspection of the whole arena 
of life. It is the educational concomitant of the 
stage of adolescence. 

The young man and the young woman begin 
to think for themselves, and the college education 
is essentially the supply of stimulus and material 
for that process. 

It was in the college stage that most of us made 
out our religion and made it real for ourselves. 
It was then we really took hold of social and politi- 


cal ideas, when we became alive to literature and 
art, when we began the delightful and distressful 
enterprise of finding ourselves. 

And I think most of ns will agree when we look 
back that the most real thing in onr college life 
was not the lecturing and the lessons very much 
of that stuff could very well have been done in the 
schooling stage but the arguments of the debat- 
ing society, the discussions that broke out in the 
class-room or laboratory, the talks in one's rooms 
about Grod and religion, about the state and free- 
'dpm, about art, about every possible and impos- 
sible social relationship. 

Now in addition to that I had something else 
in my own college course something of the same 
sort of thing but better. 

I have spoken of myself as underedueated. My 
schooling was shocking but, as a blessed compen- 
sation, my college stage was rather exceptionally 
good. My schooling ended when I was thirteen. 
My father, who was a professional cricketer, was 
smashed up by an accident and I had three horri- 
ble years in employment in shops. Then my luck 
changed and I found myself under one of the very 
i greatest teachers of his time, Professor ^xley. 
I worked at the Eoyal College of Science in Lon- 
don for one year under him in his great course 
in zoology, and for a year and a half under a 
very good but rather uninspiring teacher, Profes- 
sor Judd, the geologist. I did also physics and 
astronomy. Altogether I had three full years of 
science study. And the teaching of biology at that 


time, as Huxley had planned it, was a continuing, 
systematic, illuminating study of life, of the forms 
and appearances of Me, of the way of life, of 
the interplay of life, of the past of life and the 
present prospect of life. It was a tremendous 
training in the sifting of evidence and the exami- 
nation of appearances. 

Every man is likely to be biassed, I suppose, in 
favour of his own educational course. Yet it 
seems to me that those three years of work were 
educational that they gave ^ a vision of the 
universe as a whole and a discipline and a power 
such as no other course, no classical or mathemati- 
cal course I have ever had a chance of testing, 
could do. 

I am so far a believer in a biological backbone 
for the college phase of education that I have 
secured it for my sons and I have done all I can 
to extend it in England. Nevertheless, important 
as that formal college work was to me, it still 
seems to me that the informal part of our college 
life the talk, the debates, the discussion, the 
scampering about London to attend great political 
meetings, to hear William Morris on Socialism, 
Auberon Herbert on Individualism, Gladstone on 
Home Eule, or Bradlaugh on Atheism, for those 
were the lights of my remote student days was 
about equally important. 

If ^schooling is a training in expression and com- 
munication, college is essentially the establish- 
ment of broad convictions. And in order that they 
may be established firmly and clearly, it is neces- 


sary that the developing young man or woman 
should hear all possible views and see the medal 
of truth not only from the obverse but from the 
reverse side. 

Now here again I want to put the same sort of 
questions I have put about schooling. 

Is the college stage of our present educational 
system anywhere near its maximum possible effi- 
ciency? And could it not be extended from its 
present limited range until it reached practically 
the whole adolescent community? 

Let me deal with the first of these questions 

Could we not do much more than we do to make 
the broad issues of various current questions plain 
and accessible to our students in the college stage? 

For example, there is a vast discussion afoot 
upon the questions that centre upon Property, its 
rights and its limitations. There is a great liter- 
ature of Collectivist Socialism and Guild Social- 
ism and Communism. About these things our 
young people must know. They are very urgent 
questions; our sons and daughters will have to 
begin to deal with them from the moment they 
leave college. Upon them they must form working 
opinions, and they must know not only what they 
themselves believe but, if our public affairs are 
not to degenerate into the squalid, obstinate, hope- 
less conflicts of prejudiced adherents, they must 
know also what is believed by other people whose 
convictions are different from theirs. 


You may want to hush, these matters up. Many 
elderly people do. You will fail. 

All our intelligent students will insist upon 
learning what they can of these discussions and 
forming opinions for themselves. And if the Col- 
lege wiU not give them the representative books, 
a fair statement of the facts and views, and some 
guidance through the maze of these questions, it 
means merely that they will get a few books in 
a defiant or underhand way and form one-sided 
and impassioned opinions. 

Another great set of questions upon which the 
adolescent want to judge for theinselves, and 
ought to judge for themselves, are the religious 

And a third group are those that determine the 
principles of sexual conduct 

I know that in all these matters, on both sides 
of the Atlantic, a great battle rages between 
dogma and concealment on the one hand and open 
ventilation on the other. 

Upon the issue I have no doubt. I find it hard 
even to imagine the case for the former side. 

So long as schooling goes on, the youngster is 
immature, needs to be protected, is not called upon 
for judgments and initiatives, and may well be 
kept under mental limitations. I do not care very 
much how you censor or select the reading and 
talking and thinking of the schoolboy or schoolgirl. 
But it seems to me that with adolescence comes the 
right to knowledge and the right of judgment. 
And that it is the task and duty of the college to 


give matters of opinion in the solid to let the 
student walk round and see them from every side. 

Now how is this to be done? 

I suggest that to begin with we open wide our 
colleges to propaganda of every sort. There is 
still a general tendency in universities on both 
sides of the Atlantic to treat propaganda as infec- 
tion. For the adolescent it is not> it is a stimulat- 
ing drug. 

Let me instance my own case. I am a man of 
'Protestant origins and with a Protestant habit of 
mind. But it is a matter of great regret to me that 
there is no good Eoman Catholic propaganda 
available for my sons in their college life. I 
would like to have the old Mother Church giving 
my boys an account of herself and of the part she 
has played in the history of the world, telling 
them what she stands for and claims to be, giving 
her own account of the Mass. These things are 
interwoven with our past ; they are part of us. I 
do not like them to go into a church and stare like 
foreigners and strangers at the altar. 

And side by side with that Catholic propaganda 
I would like them to hear an interpretation of 
religious origins and church history by some non- 
catholic or sceptical ethnologist. He, too, should 
be free to tell his story and drive Ms conclusions 

But you will find most colleges and most college 
societies bar religious instruction and discussion. 
What do they think they are training? gome sort 
of genteel recluse or men and women? 


So, too, with the discussion of Bolshevism. I 
do not know how things are in America but in 
England there has been a ridiculous attempt to 
suppress Bolshevik propaganda. I have seen a 
lot of Bolshevik propaganda and it is not very con- 
vincing stuff. But by suppressing it, by police 
seizures of books and papers and the like, it has 
been invested with a quality of romantic mystery 
and enormous significance. Our boys and girls, 
especially the brighter and more imaginative, nat- 
urally enough think it must be tremendous stuff 
to agitate the authorities in this fashion. 

At our universities, moreover, the more loutish 
types of student have been incited to attack and 
smash up the youths suspected of such reading. 
This gives it the glamour of high intellectual 

The result is that every youngster in the British 
colleges with a spark of mental enterprise and 
self-respect is anxious to be convinced of Bolshe- 
vik doctrine. He believes in Lenin because he 
has been prevented from reading him. Sober col- 
lectivists like myself haven't a chance with him. 

But you see my conception of the college course? 
Its backbone should be the study of biology and its 
substance should be the threshing out of the burn- 
ing questions of our day. 

You may object to this that I am proposing the 
final rejection of that discipline in classical phi- 
losophy which is still claimed as the highest form 
of college education in the world the sort of 
course that the men take in what is called Greats 


at Oxford. You will accuse me of wanting to bury 
and forget Aristotle and P]ato, Heracfitus and 
Lucretius, and so forth and so on. 

But I don't want to do that so far as their 
thought is still alive. So far as their thought is 
still alive, these men will come into the discussion 
of living questions now. If they are Ancients and 
dead then let them be buried and left to the ar- 
chaeological excavator. If they are still Moderns 
and alive I defy you to bury them if you are (Jis- 
cussing living questions in a full and honest way. 
But don't go hunting after them, if they are still 
modern Immortals in the darkness of a forgotten 
language. Don't make a superstition of them. 
Let them come hunting after you. Either they are 
unavoidable if your living questions are fully dis- 
cussed, or they are irrelevant and they do not 
matter. That there is a wisdom and beauty in 
the classics which is incommunicable in any mod- 
ern language, which obviously neither ennobles 
nor empowers, but which is nevertheless su- 
premely precious, is a kind of nonsense dear to the 
second-rate classical don, but it has nothing en- 
dearing about it for any other human beings. I 
will not bother you further with that sort of affec- 
tation here. 

And this college course I have sketched should, 
in the modern state, pass insensibly into adult 
mental activities. 

Concurrently with it there will be going on, as 
I have said, a man's special technical training. 
He will be preparing himself for a life of Indus- 


trialism, commerce, engineering, agriculture, med- 
icine, administration, education or what not. And 
as with, the man, so with the woman. That, too, is 
a process which in this changing new world of ours 
can never be completed. Neither of these college 
activities will ever really leave off. All through 
his life a man or woman should be confirming, fix- 
ing or modifying his or her general opinions ; and 
all the time his or her technical knowledge and 
power should be consciously increased. 

And now let me come to the second problem we 
opened up in connection with college education. 
the problem of its extension. 

Can we extend it over most or all of a modern 

I don't think we can, if we are to see it in terms 
of college buildings, class rooms, tutors, profes- 
sors and the like. Here again, just as in the case 
of schooling, we have to raise the neglected prob- 
lem neglected so far as education goes of econ- 
omy of effort and we have to look once more 'at 
the new facilities that our educational institutions 
have so far refused to utilize. Our European col- 
leges and universities have a long and honourable 
tradition that again owes much to the educational 
methods of the Roman Empire and the Hellenic 
world. This tradition was already highly devel- 
oped before the days of printing from movable 
type, and long before the days when maps or Illus- 
trations were printed. The higher education, 
therefore, was still, as it was in the Stone Age, 
largely vocal. And the absence of paper and so 


forth, rendering note-books costly and rare, made 
a large amount of memorizing necessary. For that 
reason the mediaeval university teacher was al- 
ways dividing his subject into firstly and secondly 
and fourthly and sixthly and so on, so that the stu- 
dent could afterwards tick off and reproduce the 
points on his fingers a sort of thumb and finger 
method of thought still to be found in perfection 
in the discourses of that eminent Catholic apolo- 
gist, Mr. Hilaire Belloc. It is a method that de- 
stroys all sense of proportion between the head- 
ings; main considerations and secondary 'and ter- 
tiary points get all catalogued off as equivalent 
numbers, but it was a mnemonic necessity of those 
vanished days. 

And they have by no means completely van- 
ished. We still use the lecture as the normal basis 
of instruction in our colleges, we still hear dis- 
courses in the firstly, secondly and thirdly form, 
and we still prefer even a second-rate professor 
on the spot to the printed word of the ablest 
teacher at a distance. Most of us who have been 
through college courses can recall the distress of 
hearing a dull and inadequate view of a subject 
being laboriously unfolded in a long series of 
tedious lectures, in spite of the existence of full 
and competent text-books. And here again it 
would seem that the time has come to centralize 
our best teaching, to create a new sort of wide 
teaching professor who will teach not in one col- 
lege but in many, and to direct the local professor 
to the more suitable task of ensuring by a com- 


mentary, by organized critical work, and so forth, 
that the text-book is duly read, discussed and com- 
pared with the kindred books in the college 

This means that the great teaching professors 
will not lecture, or that they will lecture only to 
try over their treatment of a subject before an 
intelligent audience as a prelude to publication. 
They may perhaps visit the colleges under their 
influence, but their basic instrument of instruction 
will be not a course of lectures but a book. They 
will carry out the dictum of Carlyle that the mod- 
ern university is a university of books. 

Now the frank recognition of the book and not 
the lecture as the substantial basis of instruction 
opens up a large and interesting range of possi- 
bilities. It releases the process of learning from 
its old servitude to place and to time. It 
longer necessary for the student to go to a particu- 
lar room, at a particular hour, to hear the golden 
words drop from the lips of a particular teacher. 
The young man who reads at eleven o 'clock in the 
morning in luxurious rooms in Trinity College, 
Cambridge, will have no very marked advantage 
over another young man, employed during the 
day, who reads at eleven o 'clock at night in a bed- 
sitting-room in Glasgow. The former, you will 
say, may get commentary and discussion, but there 
is no particular reason why the latter should not 
form some sort of reading society with his fellows, 
and discuss the question with them in the dinner 
hour and on the way to the works. Nor is there 


any reason why lie should not get tutorial help as a 
university extension from the general educational 
organization, as good in quality as any other 
tutorial help. 

And this release of the essentials of a college 
education from limitations of locality and: time 
brought about by modern conditions, not only 
makes it unnecessary for a man to come "upV to 
college to be educated, but abolishes the idea that 
his educational effort comes to an end when he 
goes "down." Attendance at college no longer 
justifies a claim to education ; inability to enter a 
college is no longer an excuse far illiteracy. 

I do not think that our educational and uni- 
versity authorities realize how far the college 
stage of education has already escaped from the 
loeal limitations of colleges; they do not under- 
stand what a great and growing volume of adoles- 
cent learning and thought, of college education in 
the highest and best sense of the word, goes on 
outside the walls of colleges altogether; and on 
the other they do not grasp the significant fact 
that, thanks to the high organization of sports and 
amusements and social life in our more prosperous 
universities, a great proportion of the youngsters 
who come in to their colleges never get the reali- 
ties of a college education at all, and go out into 
the world again as shallow and uneducated as they 
came in. And this failure to grasp the great 
change in educational conditions brought about, 
for the most part, in the last half century, accounts 
for the fact that when we think of any extension of 


higher education in the modern community we are 
all too apt to think of it as a great proliferation of 
expensive, pretentious college buildings and a 
great multiplication of little teaching professor- 
ships, and a further segregation of so many hun- 
dreds or thousands of our adolescents from the 
general community, when as a matter of fact the 
reality of education has ceased to lie in that direc- 
tion at all. The modern task is not to multiply 
teachers but to exalt and intensify exceptionally 
good te'achers, to recognize their close relation- 
ship with the work of university research which 
it is their business to digest and interpret and to 
secure the production and wide distribution of 
books throughout the community. 

I am inclined to think that the type of adoles- 
cent education, very much segregated in out-of- 
the-way colleges and aristocratic in spirit, such 
as goes on now at Oxford, Cambridge, Yale,, Hol- 
loway, "Wellesley and the like, has probably 
reached and passed its maximum development. I 
doubt if the modern community can afford to con- 
tinue it ; it certainly cannot afford to extend it very 

But as I have pointed out, there has always 
been a second strand to college education the 
technical side, the professional .training or appren- 
ticeship. Here there are sound reasons that the 
student should go to a particular place, to the 
special museums and laboratories, to the institutes 
of research, to the hospitals, factories, works, 
ports, industrial centres and the like where the 


realities lie studies are to be found, or to the stu- 
dios or workshops or theatres where they practise 
the art to which he aspires. Here it seems we 
have natural centres of aggregation in relation to 
which the college stage of a civilized community, 
the general adolescent education, the vision of the 
world as a whole and the realization of the indi- 
vidual place in it, can be organized most con- 

You see that what I am suggesting here is in 
effect that we should take our colleges, so far as 
they are segregations of young people for general 
adolescent education, and break them as a cook 
breaks eggs and stir them up again into the gen- 
eral intellectual life of the community. 

Coupled with that there should, of course, be a 
proposal to restrict the hours of industrial work or 
specialized technical study up to the age of twenty, 
at least, in order to leave time for this college 
stage in the general education of every citizen of 
the world. 

The idea has already been broached that men 
and women in the modern community are no 
longer inclined to consider themselves as ever 
completely adult and finished ; there is a growing 
disposition and a growing necessity to keep on 
learning throughout life. In the worlds of re^ 
search, of literature and art and economic enter- 
prise, that adult learning tates highly specialized 
forms which I will not discuss now; but in the gen- 
eral modern community the process of continuing 
education after the college stage is still evidently 


only at a primitive level of development. There 
are a certain number of literary societies and soci- 
eties for the study of particular subjects; the pul- 
pit still performs an educational function; there 
are public lectures and in America there are the 
hopeful germs of what may become later on a very 
considerable organization of adult study in the 
Lyceum Chautauqua system ; but for the general- 
ity of people the daily newspaper, the Sunday 
newspaper, the magazine and the book constitute 
the only methods of mental revision and enlarge- 
ment after the school or college stage is past. 

Now we have to remember that the bulk of this 
great organization of newspapers and periodicals 
and all the wide distribution of books that goes on 
to-day are extremely recent things. This new 
nexus of print has grownup in the lifetime of four 
or five generations, and it is undergoing constant 
changes. We are apt to forget its extreme new- 
ness in history and to disregard the profound dif- 
ference in mental conditions it makes between pur 
own times and any former period. It is impossible 
to believe that thus far it is anything but a sketch 
and intimation of what it will presently be. It 
has grown. No man foresaw it ; no one planned 
it. We of this generation have grown up with 
it and are in the habit of behaving as though this 
nexus haft always been with us and as though it 
would certainly remain with us. The latter 
conclusion is almost wilder than the f ormier. 

By what we can only consider a series of for- 
tunate accidents, the press and the book world 


have provided and do provide a necessary organ 
in the modern world state, an organ for swift gen- 
eral information upon matters of fact and for the 
rapid promulgation and diffusion of ideas and in- 
terpretations. The newspaper grew, as we know, 
out of the news letter which in a manuscript form 
existed before the Eoman Empire ; it owes its later 
developments largely to the advertisement possi- 
bilities that came with the expansion of the range 
of trading as the railways and suchlike means of 
communication developed. Modern newspapers 
have been described, not altogether inaptly, as 
sheets of advertisements with news and discus- 
sions printed on the back. The extension of book 
reading from a small class, chiefly of men, to^the 
whole community has also been largely a response 
to new facilities ; though it owes something also to 
the religious disputes of the last three centuries. 
The population of Europe, one may say with a cer- 
tain truth, first learnt to read the Bible, and only 
afterwards to read books in general. A large pro- 
portion of the book publishing in the English lan- 
guage in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
still consisted of sermons and controversial theo- 
logical works. 

Both newspaper and book production began in 
a small way as the enterprise of free individuals, 
^without anyone realizing the dimensions to which 
the thing would grow. Our modern press aiid 
book trade, in spite of many efforts to centralize 
and control it, in spite of Defence of the Eealm 
Acts and the like, is still the production of an 


unorganized multitude of persons. It isr not cen- 
tralized; it is not controlled. To this fact the 
nexus of print owes what is still its most valuable 
quality. Thoughts and ideas of the most varied 
and conflicting sort arise and are developed and 
worked out and fought out in this nexus, just as 
they do in a freely thin king vigorous mind. 

I am not, you will n,ote, saying that this free- 
dom is perfect or that the thought process of the 
print nexus could not go very much better than it 
does, but I am saying that it -has a very consider- 
able freedom and^vigour and that s-o far as it has 
these qualities it is a very fine thing indeed. 

Now many people think that we are moving in 
the direction of world socialism to-day. Collec- 
tivism is perhaps & better, more definite word than 
socialism, and, so far as keeping the peace- gx>es, 
and in matters of transport and communication, 
trade, currency, elementary education, the produc- 
tion and distribution of staples and the conserva- 
tion of the natural resources of the world go,, I 
believe that the world and the common sense of 
mankind move steadily towards a world collec- 
tivism. But the more co-operation we have in our 
common interests, the more necessary is it to 
guard very jealously the freedom of the mind, that 
is to say, the liberty of discussion and suggestion. 

It is here that the Communist regime in Russia 
has encountered its most fatal difficulty. A catas- 
trophic unqualified abolition of private property 
has necessarily resulted in all the paper, all the 
printing machinery, all the libraries, all the news- 


stalls and "book shops, becoming Government prop- 
erty. It is impossible to print anything -without 
the consent of the Government. One cannot buy 
a book or newspaper; one must take what the Gov- 
ernment distributes. Free discussion never a 
very free thing in Eussia has now on any gen- 
eral scale become quite impossible. It was a dif- 
ficulty foreseen long ago in Socialist discussions, 
but never completely met by the thorough paced 
Communist. At one blow the active mental life 
of Eussia has been ended, and so long as Eussia 
remains completely and consistently communist it 
cannot be resumed. It can only be resumed by 
some surrender of paper, printing and book dis- 
tribution from absolute Government ownership, to 
free individual control. That can only be done by 
an abandonment of the full rigours of communist 

In our western communities the dangers to the 
intellectual nexus lie rather on the other side. The 
war period produced considerable -efforts at Gov- 
ernment control and as a consequence considerable 
annoyance to writers, much concealment and some 
interference with* the expression of opinion; but 
on the whole both newspapers and books held their 
own. There is to-day probably as much freedom 
of publishing as ever there was. It is not from 
the western governments that mischief is likely to 
come to free intellectual activity in the western 
communities but from the undisciplined individ- 
ual, and from the incitements to mob violence by 


various propagandist religions and cults against 
free discussion. 

About the American press I know and can say 
little. I will speak only of things with which I am 
familiar. I anr inclined to think that there has 
been a considerable increase of deliberate lying in 
the British press since 1914, and a marked loss of 
journalistic self-respect. Particular interests have 
secured control of large groups of papers and 
pushed their particular schemes in entire disre- 
gard of the general mental well-being. For in- 
istaiice, there has recently been a remarkable boy- 
cott in the London press of a very able collectiyist 
book, Sir Leo Money's " Triumph of Nationaliza- 
tion" because it would have interfered with, the 
operation of very large groups which were con- 
cerned in getting back public property into private 
hands on terms advantageous to the latter. It is 
a book not only important as a statement of a 
peculiar economic view, but because of the states- 
manlike gravity and clearness of its exposition. I 
do not think it would haver been possible to stand 
between the public and a writer in this way in the 
years before 1914. A considerable proportion of 
the industrial and commercial news is now written 
to an end. The British press has also suffered 
greatly from the outbreak of social and nationalist 
rancour arising out of the great war, the inability 
of the European mind to grasp the Bolshevik 
issue, and the clumsy blunderings of the Versailles 
settlement. Quite half the news from Eastern 
Europe that appears in the London press is now 


deliberate fabrication, and a considerable propor- 
tion of the rest is rephrased and mutilated to give 
a misleading impression to the reader. 

But people cannot be continuously deceived in 
this way, and the consequence of this press de- 
moralization has been a great loss of influence for 
the daily paper. A diminishing number of people 
now believe the news as it is given them, and fewer 
still take the unsigned portions of the newspaper 
as written in good faith. And there has been a 
consequent enhancement of the importance of 
signed journalism. Men of manifest honesty, men 
with names to keep clean, have built up reputa- 
tions and influence upon the ruins of editorial 
prestige. The exploitation of newspapers by the 
adventurers of "private enterprise " in business, 
has carried with it this immense depreciation in 
the power and honour of the newspaper. 

I am inclined to think that this swamping of a 
large part of the world's press by calculated false- 
hood and partizan propaganda is a temporary 
phase in the development of the print nexus: 
nevertheless, it is a very great inconvenience and 
danger to the world. It stands very much in the 
way of that universal adult education which is our 
present concern. Eeality is horribly distorted. 
Men cannot see the world clearly and they cannot, 
therefore, begin to think about it rightly. 

We need a much "better and more trustworthy 
press than we possess. We cannot get on to a, 
new and better world without it. The remedy is 
to be found not, I believe, in any sort of Govern- 


ment control, but in a legal campaign against the 
one thing harmful the lie. It would be in the 
interests of most big advertisers for most big 
advertisement is honest ; it would be, in the long- 
run, in the interests of the press, and it would 
mean an enormous step forward in the general 
mental clarity of the world if a deliberate lie, 
whether in an advertisement or in the news or 
other columns of the press, was punishable pun- 
ishable whether it did or did not involve anything 
that is now an actionable damage. And it would 
still further strengthen the print nexus and clear 
the mind of the world if it were compulsory to 
correct untrue statements in the periodical press, 
whether they had been made in good faith or'not, 
at least as conspicuously and lengthily as the 
original statement. I can see no impossibility in 
the realization of either of these proposals, and 
no objection that a really honest newspaper pro- 
prietor or advertiser could offer to them. It would 
make everyone careful, of course, but I fail to see 
any grievance in that. The sanitary effect upon 
the festering disputes of our time would be incal- 
culably great. It would be like opening the win- 
dows upon a stuffy, overcrowded and unventilated 
room of disputing people. 

Given adequate laws to prevent the cornering 
of paper or the partisan control of the means of 
distribution of books and printed matter, I believe 
that the present freedoms and the unhampered 
individualism of the world of thought, discussion 
and literary expression are and must remain con- 


ditions essential to the proper growth and activity 
of a common world mind. On the basis of that 
sounder education I have sketched in a preceding 
paper, there is possible such an extension of un- 
derstanding, such an increase of intelligent co-op- 
erations and such a clarification of wills as to dis- 
solve away half the difficulties and conflicts of the 
present time and to provide for the other half 
such a power of solution as we, in the heats, entan- 
glements and limitations of our present igno- 
rance, doubt and misinformation can scarcely be- 
gin to imagine. 

I do not know how far I have conveyed to you 
in the last two papers nay underlying idea of an 
education not merely intensive but extensive, 
planned so economically and so ably as to reach 
every man and woman in the world. 

It is a dream not of individuals educated we 
have thought too much of the individual educated 
for the individual but of a world educated to a 
pitch of understanding and co-operation far be- 
yond anything we know of to-day, for the sake of 
all mankind. 

I have tried to show that, given organization, 
given the will for it, such a world-wide education 
is possible. 

I wish I had the gift of eloquence so that I 
could touch, your wills in this matter. I do not 
know how this world of to-day strikes upon you. 
I am not ungrateful for the gift of life, While 
there is life and a human mind, it seems to me 
there must always be excitements and beauty, even 


if tlie excitements are fierce and the beauty terri- 
ble and tragic. Nevertheless, this world of man- 
kind to-day seems to me to be a very sinister and 
dreadful world. It has come to this that I open 
my newspaper every morning with a sinking heart, 
and usually I find little to console me. Every day 
there is a new tale of silly bloodshed. Every day I 
read of anger and hate, oppression and misery 
and want stupid anger and oppression, needless 
misery and want the insults and suspicions * of 
ignorant men, and the inane and horrible self-sat- 
isfaction of the well-to-do. It is a vile world be- 
cause it is an uiidereducated world, unreasonable, 
suspicious, base and ferocious. The air of our 
lives is a close and wrathful air; it has the close- 
ness of a prison the indescribable offence of 
crowded and restricted humanity. 

And yet I know that there is a way out. 

Up certain steps there is a door to this dark 
prison of ignorance, prejudice and passion in 
which we live and that door is only locked on the 
inside. It is within our power, given the will for 
it, given the courage for it it is within our power 
to go out. The key to all our human disorder is 
organized education, comprehensive and univer- 
sal. The watchword of conduct that will clear up 
all our difficulties is the plain truth. Rely upon 
that watchword, use that key with courage ana we 
can go out of the prison in which we live ; we can 
go right out of the conditions of war, shortage, 
angry scrambling, mutual thwarting and malaise 
and disease in which we live ; we and our kind can 


go out into sunlight, into a sweet air of under- 
standing, into confident freedoms and a full crea- 
tive life for ever. 

I do not know I do not dare to believe that 
I shall live to hear that key grating in the lock, 
It may be our children and our children's children 
will still be living in this jail. But a day will 
surely come when that door will open wide and all 
our race will pass out from this magic prisoA. of 
ignorance, suspicion and indiscipline in which we 
now all suffer together. 



IK the preceding papers I have, with some repe- 
tition and much stumbling, set out a fairly com- 
plete theory of what men and women have to do 
at the present time if human life is to go on hope- 
fully to any great happiness and achievement in 
the days to come. Much of this material was first 
prepared to be delivered to a lecture audience, and 
I regret that ill-health has prevented a complete 
re-writing of these portions. There is more of the 
uplifted forefinger and the reiterated point than 
I should have allowed myself in an essay. But 
this is a loss of grace rather than of clearness. 
And since I am stating a case and not offering the 
reader anything professing to be a literary work, 
I shall not apologize for finally summing up and 
underlining the chief points of this book. 

They are, firstly : that a great change in human 
coijditions has been brought about during the past 
century, and secondly that a vast task of adapta- 
tion, which must be, initially and fundamentally, 
mental adaptation, has to be undertaken by our 
race. It is a task which politicians, who live from 
day to day, and statesmen, who live from event to 
event, may hinder or aid very greatly, but which 



they ^cannot be expected to conduct or control. 
Politicians and statesmen perforce live and work 
in the scheme of ideas they find about them; the 
conditions of their activities are made for them. 
They can be compelled by the weight of public 
opinion to help it, but the driving force for this 
great task must come not from official sources but 
from the steadfast educational pressure of a great 
and growing multitude of convinced people. In 
times of fluctuation and dissolving landmarks^ the 
importance of the teacher using the word in its 
widest sense rises with the progressive dissolu- 
tion of the established order. 

The creative responsibility for the world to-daj; 
passes steadily into the hands of writers and 
school teachers, students of social and economic 
science, professors and poets, editors and jour- 
nalists, publishers and newspaper proprietors, 
preachers, every sort of propagandist and every 
sort of disinterested person who can give time and 
energy to the reconstruction of the social idea. 
Human life will continue to be more and more 
dangerously chaotic until a world social idea crys- 
tallizes out. That and no existing institution 
and no current issue is the primary concern of 
the present age. 

We need, therefore, before all other sorts of 
organization, educational organizations ; we need, 
before any other sort of work, work of education 
and enlightenment; we need everywhere active 
societies pressing for a better, more efficient con- 
duct of public schooling, for a wider, more enlight- 


ening school curriculum, for a world- wide linking 
up of educational systems, for a ruthless subordi- 
nation of naval, military and court expenditure 
to educational needs, and for a systematic dis- 
couragement of mischief -making between nation 
and nation and race and race and class and class, 
I could wish to see Educational Societies, organ- 
ized as such, springing up everywhere, watching 
local bodies in order to divert economies from the 
educational starvation of a district to other less 
harmful saving; watching for obscurantism and 
reaction and mischievous nationalist teaching in, 
the local schools and colleges and in the local 
press ; watching members of parliament and con- 
gressmen for evidences of educational good-will 
or malignity; watching and getting control of the 
administration of public libraries ; assisting, when 
necessary, in the supply of sound literature in 
their districts ; raising funds for invigorating edu- 
cational propaganda in poor countries like China 
and in atrociously educated countries like Ireland, 
and corresponding with kindred societies through- 
out the world. I believe such societies would 
speedily become much more influential than the 
ordinary political party clubs and associations 
that now use up so much human energy in the 
western communities. Subordinating all vulgar 
political considerations to educational develop- 
ment as the supreme need in the world's affairs, 
even quite small societies could exercise a power- 
ful decisive voice in a great number of political 
contests. And an educational movement is more 


tenacious than any other sort of social or political 
movement whatever. It trains its adherents. 
What it wins it holds. 

I know that in thus putting all the importance 
upon educational needs at the present time I shall 
seem to many readers to be ignoring quite ex- 
cessively the profound racial, social and economic 
conflicts that are in progress. I do. I believe we 
shall never get on with human affairs until we do 
ignore them. I offer no suggestion whatever as to 
what sides people should take in such an issue as 
that between France and Germany or between 
Sinn Fein and the British Government, or in the 
class war. I offer no such suggestion because I 
believe that all these conflicts and all such current 
conflicts are so irrational and destructive that it 
is impossible for a sane man who wishes to serve 
the world to identify himself with either side in 
any of them. These conflicts are mere aspects of 
the gross and passionate stupidity and ignorance 
and sectionalism of our present world. The class 
war, the push for and the resistance to some vague 
reorganization called the Social Eevolution such 
things are the natural inevitable result of the sor- 
did moral and intellectual muddle of our common 
ideas about property. The capitalist, the em- 
ployer, the property-owning class, as a class, have 
neither the intelligence nor the conscience to com- 
prehend any moral limitations, any limitations 
whatever but the strong arm of the law, upon what 
they do with their property. Their black and ob- 
stinate ignorance, the clumsy adventurousness 


they call private enterprise, their unconscious in- 
solence to poor people, their stupidly conspicuous 
self-indulgence, produce as a, necessary result the 
black hatred of the employed and the expropri- 
ated. On one side we have greed, insensibility and 
incapacity, on the other envy and suffering stung 
to vindictive revolt ; on neither side light nor gen- 
erosity nor creative will. Neither side has any 
power to give us any reality we need. Neither 
side is more than a hate and an aggression. How 
can one take sides between them? 

The present system, unless it can develop a "bet- 
ter intelligence and a better heart, is manifestly 
destined to foster fresh wars and to continue wast- 
ing what is left of the substance of mankind, until 
absolute social disaster overtakes us all. And 
manifestly the revolutionary communist, at Jiis 
present level of education, has neither the plans 
nor the capacity to substitute any more efficient 
system for this crazy edifice of ill-disciplined pri- 
vate enterprise that is now blundering to destruc- 
tion. But at a higher level of intelligence, at a 
level at which it is possible to define the limitations 
of private property clearly and to ensure a really 
loyal and effectual co-operation between individual 
and state, this issue this wholly destructive con- 
flict between the property manipulator and the 
communist fanatic which is now rapidly wreck- 
ing our world disappears. It disappears as 
completely as the causes of a murderous conflict 
between two drunken men will disappear when 


they are separated and put under a stream of clear 
cold water. 

So it is that, in spite of their apparent urgency, 
I ask the reader to detach himself from these pres- 
ent conflicts of national politics, of political par- 
ties and of the class war as completely as he can;, 
or, if he cannot detach himself completely, then 
to play such a part in them, regardless of any 
other consideration, as may he most conducive to 
a wide-thinking, wide-ranging education upon 
which we can base a new world order. A resolute 
push for quite a short period now might recon- 
struct the entire basis of our collective human 

In this book I have tried to show what form 
that push should take, to show that it has a reason- 
able hope of an ultimate success, and that unless 
it is made, the outlook for mankind is likely to 
become an entirely dismal prospect. I put these 
theses before the reader for his consideration. 
They are not discursive criticisms of life, not hap- 
hazard grumblings at our present discontents, 
they are offered as the fundamental propositions 
of an ordered constructive project in which he can 
easily find a part to play commensurate with his 
ability and opportunities.